On Friday, the Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers Union, affiliated to CITU, demonstrated at the district headquarters through the state from Dehradun to Rudrapur, Almora, Ranikhet, Uttarkashi, Pauri, Tehri, Champawat, Pithoragarh, Kotdwar regarding their 12-point demands.
The protesting ASHA workers demanded that they should be given the status of government employees along with a minimum honorarium of Rs. 21,000, fixing the monthly salary of ASHAs till they get the honorarium and provision for pension on retirement.
ASHA workers sent a memorandum to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami regarding 12-point demands, which included the demand of a monthly corona allowance of Rs 10,000 to all Asha workers engaged in COVID19 related work.
ASHA workers who have been working since 2006 do not have fixed wages yet, which has exacerbated their economic problem, particularly during the pandemic. ASHA workers said that ASHAs are the backbone of the health department, yet the state government is constantly neglecting them. They have warned of a complete boycott from August 2 if the demands are not met by the government.
Addressing the protest gathering, one of the speakers said that, all women workers including Asha are being openly exploited by the Modi regime. Targeting the draconian labour codes brought about by the Modi government, the speaker said that the original labour laws have been done away with by this regime to eliminate the rights of workers and keep them as bonded labourers.
Earlier this year on International Women’s Day, the then Chief Minister had announced an incentive of Rs. 10,000 to the workers for their service during the pandemic, but the ASHAs have said that they are still to receive the promised money.
Since then the state has been through the change of chief ministership when Tirath Singh Rawat was replaced by Pushkar Singh Dhami, but the remuneration to the ASHA workers continues to be denied.
ASHA unions associated with AICCTU and CITU have been agitating across the state since July 23 in a phased manner for their demands. On July 23, memorandums were sent to the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister after a sit-in demonstration at the block headquarters. In the same sequence, on July 30, demonstrations were held at the district headquarters.
ASHA workers have asserted that if the stalemate situation continues, then there will be a state-level demonstration in the capital Dehradun. If the government does not agree, then the strike will be the last way.
The report was first published at workersunity.com.