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Ill advised move

Ill advised move
Highlights

The Telangana State government has announced a substantial hike in the wages of municipal workers who have been on strike for nearly a fortnight. But, despite increasing the wages by 47 per cent, the party in power has incurred the wrath of these poor sections due to the ill-advised move. The government should have invited the striking workers and announced the hike.

The Telangana State government has announced a substantial hike in the wages of municipal workers who have been on strike for nearly a fortnight. But, despite increasing the wages by 47 per cent, the party in power has incurred the wrath of these poor sections due to the ill-advised move. The government should have invited the striking workers and announced the hike.

There would have certainly been a positive response as the wage hike is nearer to what the workers have demanded. But, the announcement made on Thursday was a carrot and stick approach that has boomeranged. Instead of receiving the bouquets, the government is receiving brickbats.

The government said that the hike would be applicable to those who joined the duties by Thursday and those who continued to be in strike would be sacked. Perhaps such an announcement might have come as government was not confident that the workers would be satisfied with the package announced and resume the duties.

Thus, they want to deliver the wage hike with a warning As a result, the workers who should normally be jubilant became furious, inflicting political damage on the TRS. An ill-conceived bureaucratic approach prevailed over political sagacity in dealing with the strike.

The State government has given 43 per cent fitment for government employees even before they have embarked upon any serious agitation. But, the wage increase was announced in the case of RTC workers only after they came out on the streets. Now, in the case of municipal workers, the government increased the wages and still invited a hostile response.

All this signifies lapses in politics of governance. Such a vindictive attitude especially dealing with the marginalized sections of governmental apparatus who deal with the worst forms of manual labour is highly unwarranted and politically counterproductive for the ruling party.

Yet another flaw in government response is the distinction made between the employees in GHMC area and other municipalities. This negates the constitutional principle of equal pay for equal work. The wage hike for their colleagues in GHMC, while denying them the same, would cause much more heartburn in the employees in non-GHMC areas. The number of workers is higher in non-GHMC area as compared to that in the Greater Hyderabad limits.

The plight of the municipal workers is so pathetic that it received universal support. They live and work in sub-human conditions that make them vulnerable to many kinds of diseases. They still get meager incomes even after this so-called impressive hike. The sanitation workers are denied even basic accessories to carry out their work safely and efficiently.

They constitute a critical component of waste management effort which is the most essential public service. They went on strike not because of any antagonism towards TRS or state government. It was a fight for survival. In a democracy, opposition would certainly jump onto the bandwagon the government need not be unduly perturbed over this.

Chief Minister had earlier called the municipal workers ‘Gods.’ But, poor workers are not craving for divinity, but praying for means to live as human beings. Hope the government realises this, and resolves the issue amicably.

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