Teachers, ASHAs, nurses, bus workers – why the Punjab has become a state of strike

Punjab Roadways contract workers on strike in Ludhiana Wednesday | ANI

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Chandigarh: The Punjab is set for assembly elections, but just months before the elections, the state was hit by strikes. At least a dozen unions of various kinds, including those of teachers, ASHA workers, anganwadi workers, nurses and bus workers are on the streets to demand regularization of services, jobs or better wages.

Protesters are making a final push to put pressure on the Congressional government led by Charanjit Singh Channi which, although it is in “please all” mode ahead of the elections, is struggling to deal with them.

In many places over the past two weeks, lathis and water cannons have been used against protesters, with police action on the rise against the government.

The opposition went to town with pictures protesters injured, accusing the Channi government of apathy and cruelty.

Since protesters hold their dharnas near where the chief minister or his ministers go, they are almost always greeted with black flags and loud slogans.

Channi’s security unit on Thursday attempted to find a “solution” to the problem, but that left his government even redder. The head of the special protection unit ordered that wherever the chief minister is to attend a function or ceremony, the organizers would hire a DJ and perform Gurbani Shabad (Sikh religious music) to stifle slogans.

The order, however, was hastily withdrawn in the evening after drawing criticism not only from opposition leaders but also from Congress Sunil Jakhar, who tweeted that he laughed at democracy.

Instead, another round of orders was issued, saying that wherever the Chief Minister attends a function or ceremony, the loudspeaker volume at the site will be reduced so that he can listen properly. the misfortunes of the public.


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Exploding problem

The contractual employees of Punjab Roadways, PUNBUS and PRTC are an indefinite strike since Tuesday, affecting government bus services to many places. They are asking that their services be regularized.

The other contractual employees are also in the street with the same request. They want the Channi government to notify its decision to regularize 36,000 contract workers. Their protests in various locations have been going on for three weeks now.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party Chairman Arvind Kejriwal last month made common cause with the commotion of physical training instructors (PTI) asking for a job in Sohana. Teachers have been protesting from above a water tank since August. Kejriwal then approached other qualified teachers, who applied for jobs outside the Punjab School Education Board office in Mohali.

Apart from that, teachers at 184 colleges across the state have been on strike during the last week as part of the ongoing “Total Education Bandh”. They are protesting against the non-implementation of the recommendations of the seventh salary commission of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

If that wasn’t enough, on Monday during his visit to Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Channi was greeted with slogans and black flags from protesting computer teachers. These teachers want their services to be merged with the education department.

Police intervention against demonstrators

With the protests skyrocketing, police have been forced to act in a number of cases.

More than 250 “Covid warriors” (paramedics and nurses), who had been hired through government outsourcing during the two waves of Covid but laid off in October, were forcibly removed after blocking the Chandigarh-Bathinda national road last Friday. They demanded the return of their jobs and participated in a permanent sit-in at the Rajindra hospital in Patiala since October 25.

Last Saturday the Jalandhar police lathicharged candidates who were protesting against the abnormal recruitment process of the Punjab police. The candidates had gathered near the PAP (Punjab Armed Police) complex to try to disrupt the next wave of recruitments.

On the same day, qualified teachers for Elementary Teacher Training (ETT) were lathichargé in Mohali as they attempted to make their way to the residence of the Chief Minister in Kharar. Teachers have been protesting for five months now, demanding a job.

ASHA Workers (Certified Social Health Activist) job hit for two days last week, demanding an increase in wages in accordance with the minimum wage law.

Last month, to protest anganwadi the workers tried to gherao the residence of the chief minister in Kharar. They demanded the return of pre-primary students to angwadis public schools and fill vacancies.

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)


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