CPIML has said that the decision by the Nitish Kumar government to put sanitation workers under outsourcing is a direct attack on their jobs, livelihood and rights. The Nitish government wants to make sanitation workers slaves of private owners. They are depriving the workers of the right to regular work. The Urban Development and Housing Department of the Nitish-BJP government has declared all 143 Group D posts (including sanitation workers) of the Municipal bodies ‘dead’, thus ending all permanent posts and outsourcing sanitation work to agencies and private companies and enabling organized legal loot through privatization and NGO-ization.
In addition, even the daily sanitation workers currently working will have to work under private agencies. More than 30,000 sanitation workers across Bihar are on strike for the past one week against this draconian decision to save their livelihoods and basic rights. This is legal loot of the hard-earned money paid as tax to the Municipal bodies by the poor and middle class people of Bihar. Every citizen of Bihar knows that private agencies and companies loot about Rs 10,000 per month through each sanitation worker. Every citizen of Bihar should raise their voice in favor of sanitation workers against this decision by the government.
Tomorrow this very government will put these sanitation workers in detention camps on the grounds of being unable to prove citizenship under NRC-NPR. The biggest hit from these draconian laws will be taken by workers, dalits, and weaker sections. With regard to reservations in promotions for SC/ST the Supreme Court has said that this is not a fundamental right. This verdict is a violation of the rights of these communities. Reservation in promotions should continue to remain.
In the Nitish-BJP regime, the Urban Development and Housing, Health, Labor Resources, Mining Ministries have remained with the BJP for the past 15 years. Instead of giving sanitation workers (the most oppressed section in society who are the strongest claimants to social justice and development) justice and rights, the Nitish-BJP government is unleashing the cruelest attack on their legal right to livelihood and life. The ‘double-engine’ (good governance and social justice) government of Nitish Kumar has slapped a double attack on sanitation workers by removing them from work and making them slaves of private companies. Decisions taken in favour of private companies by the BJP Ministers of these Ministries concerned directly with the people’s welfare have forced workers constantly struggle and fight for their minimum right to exist and earn a minimum livelihood. These workers include sand workers, ASHAs, ITI workers, and now the weakest in society, the sanitation workers. The irony is that this ‘worst governance’ is being publicized as ‘Sushasan’ (good governance) and ‘Vikas’ (development).
The CPIML demands: Revoke Order No. 2503 (dated 03-05-18) and Order No. 1435 (dated 05-03-19) and all other orders and decisions related to sanitation workers issued by the Urban Development and Housing Ministry of the anti-worker Nitish government which is depriving the rights of sanitation workers from better wages and regular appointment to regular jobs; create lakhs of posts for sanitation and other workers in all Municipal Corporations, Councils and Nagar Panchayats across Bihar in accordance with population ratio; Nitish Kumar should take away from BJP control Ministries which are directly related to people’s welfare and which have been under BJP control for the past 15 years.
CPIML leaders addressed a Press Conference in Patna on 10 February addressed by State Secretary Kunal, Standing Committee member and Bihar Rajya Sthaniya Nikay Karmachari Sangh (AICCTU) President RN Thakur and General Secretary Shyamlal Prasad, MLA Sudama Prasad, and AICCTU National Secretary Ranvijay Kumar.
CPIML organized Protest day on 11 February which was observed across Bihar in support of the ongoing sanitation workers’ strike.