New Delhi: The municipal teachers’ union has called for a joint strike from Monday to protest against the delay in the payment of salaries, noting that the wait has affected five months for teachers and seven months for pensioners in schools in the city. ‘East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).
The majority of East Delhi Municipal Corporation employees were last paid for the month of November 2021, making it the second longest period of wage suspension seen in the past decade after trifurcation.
Ramniwas Solanki, who heads Nagar Nigam Shikshak Sangh – a teachers’ union of the three MCDs, said the situation was becoming unbearable for many families. “There are five months of waiting in East MCD and two months in North MCD. The situation is dire for thousands of families as employees are unable to pay their house rents, neighborhood loans and school fees, on top of which the banks are imposing penalties. Despite such high inflation, our dues have not been paid for almost six months. We have called for a strike and joint protest at EDMC headquarters on May 9, 2022 (Monday),” Solanki said.
The teachers’ union has also written to the Union Home Office to intervene and provide a financial package for the upcoming unification of the three civic bodies.
Vibha Singh, headmaster of Gandhi Nagar Municipal School, said the company continues to issue circulars on sanitation measures and other guidelines, but does not issue any funds for this.
“During the whole pandemic, we were sending worksheets to students and even photocopies were made with personal funds. The situation has never been so bad. Traders refuse to donate items of daily use. People are unable to fund their treatment costs. Just a few days ago we had an employee who was in tears because he couldn’t do anything on their service anniversary. It’s a humanitarian crisis and no one is bothered,” she said.
Singh said teachers can no longer continue to run schools with their personal funds: “Our drinking water cooler at school needs fixing and it will take ₹14,000. The company does not even provide provident funds. We can’t even run our houses without salaries, how long can we keep funding operational matters. »
The Nagar Nigam Shikshak Sangh said in a statement that other employee unions also supported their call to join the protest.
AP Khan, head of the MCD Employees’ Union Confederation, said they supported the teachers’ call for protest. “It will be their platform but we will support the call. Retirees were not paid for seven months at EDMC and three months at North MCD. There were no developments after the notification of the MCD Unification Bill. If financial support is not provided, it will only prove that the unification was made for political purposes,” he added.
Noting that the longest salary delay was six months in 2020, due to the pandemic, Solanki said the situation was “back to square one.”
Lalit Goswami, a municipal teacher deployed in Bhajanpura, said many of her colleagues are unable to afford school fees for their children. “People are getting reminders to pay school fees. We also have to pay the EMIs on the loans and now even the banks have started refusing to give us loans… The wage crisis started in 2014 but the delay was usually one to two months and rarely reached a such a crisis situation. We don’t know if unification will solve this…” he added.
EDMC Mayor Shyam Sunder Aggarwal admitted there was a salary backlog, but added that the company was working to address the issues. “We still haven’t received the first quarter of the basic tax share from the government. This is why unification is in progress. As soon as we get the first quarter share, we can publish salaries for two months. We hope that the salary arrears crisis will soon be definitively resolved after unification,” he added.
The president has already signed into law the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2022, which seeks to unify the three civic bodies of the national capital. The unification is expected to be launched towards the end of the current terms of the three companies between May 18 and May 22 with the appointment of a special officer.
The Union government had cited the financial crisis as one of the main reasons for the decision to merge the three civic bodies, but a solution to the current crisis has yet to be sketched out.
According to company estimates sent to the central government last month, salary and pension arrears worth ₹8,259 crore is pending with North MCD, ₹676 crore with SDMC and ₹2,339 crore with EDMC.