THE ‘Organize and Protest’ campaign of the Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers Union (affiliated to AICCTU) from 9 to 24 August 2019 started with the submission of memorandums to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand at all District Headquarters and important centers. The campaign will be concluded on 24 August with protests and rallies at all Block HQs.
Speaking on the occasion, Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers Union State President Kamala Kunjwal said that ASHA workers who have been struggling for a long time for minimum wages are not getting even a single rupee in the name of monthly salary. She said that ASHAs were appointed in order to reduce the mother-child mortality rate. Government reports are witness to the fact that ASHA workers have been successful in this objective. The reward they have got for this success is extra work burden; but the Modi government is adamant in its refusal on the question of monthly salary for ASHA workers. She pointed out that the Modi government has further increased the problems of the ASHA workers and completely shattered the concept of public health by reducing the budget for the National Health Mission.
ASHA Union State General Secretary Kailash Pandey said that whatever the ASHAs have secured so far has been secured through their struggles. In future also they will achieve new victories through organizational strength and courageous struggles. Uttarakhand needs a struggle similar to that of the ASHAs in Andhra Pradesh who fought and forced the AP State government to give them a monthly honorarium of Rs 10000.
Kailash Pandey further said that not only are ASHAs not getting a monthly salary, they are not even getting a monthly honorarium; not only that, even the annual incentive amount has been stopped. It is extremely shameful that the government which spends crores of rupees on advertisements for women empowerment is exploiting women’s labor in this way. He demanded that the Uttarakhand government should announce a monthly honorarium of Rs 10000 (similar to Andhra Pradesh) for ASHAs, and also re-start the annual incentive amount which the government has stopped at present. He also demanded that ASHAs should be given the status of regular workers. He said that the struggle for monthly salary, which ASHAs are not getting despite being on emergency duty all 24 hours every day, will be strengthened and sharpened. Agitations will be organized against the State and Central governments for this.
Commencing the ‘Organize and Protest’ campaign, a rally was held from the Women’s Hospital to the Deputy Collector’s office and a memorandum was submitted to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand with the following two main demands: Rs 10000 monthly honorarium for ASHAs in Uttarakhand on the lines of Andhra Pradesh; and reinstatement of the annual incentive amount as was being given previously.