MARGAO Chairman of the National Commission for Safai Karmacharis, M Venkatesan has told the South Goa district Collector to inquire into the claims relating to provident fund and ESI benefits for the workers engaged in garbage collection in the city.
Venkatesan had a meeting with the district Collector, South Asvin Chandru, Additional Collector Srinet Kothwale, representatives of the Safai Karmacharis and others at the South district Collectorate on Tuesday.
'Equal work, equal pay'
The Shadow Council for Margao, which submitted a petition to Venkatesan, demanded that the “equal work equal pay” system be adopted for the daily rated workers of the Margao Municipal Council.
SCM convener Savio Coutinho stated that there are several Safai Karmacharis employed on daily wage basis, who have completed over 10-20 years of service.
While the government time and again makes statements of regularising Karmacharis who have completed more than five years of service, this commitment continues to remain unfulfilled. If at all this Commission desires to do justice to the Safai Karmacharis, then, pending the regularisation of their services, this Commission should enforce the implementation of “equal work equal pay” for them, on par with the fixed workers engaged for the same work.
The SCM further demanded for an inquiry into the reasons why the Safai Karmacharis are not provided assistance to procure ESIC card so as to avail medical benefits eligible to them.
Workers suffer exploitation by their employers
Coutinho further revealed that the workers engaged by private agencies appointed by the Council are being allegedly exploited by their employers in terms of Provident Fund and ESIC benefits. The Commission needs to make it mandatory for the Council to insist upon the agencies to produce copies of the ESIC cards and Provident Fund account statements of all the workers employed by them within a period of maximum one month from being deputed for duty by the agency.
Making a strong point over the nil results that come out from the Commission meetings, Coutinho said that it would rather be a matter of interest, or surprise for the Chairman to realise that the situation of the Safai Karmacharis in Margao is no better than it was during his last visit to Margao in October 2021.
The SCM delegation comprising of Mathin Karol, Maria do Carmo, Arch Carlos Gracias, Iftiyaz Sayed and Carmen D’Cunha said that the Commission needs to draw its attention so as to deliver justice to the Safai Karmacharis (mostly daily wage workers) who subject themselves to health risks in order to provide a hygienic environment for the public.