Monday, June 30, 2008

Industrial Action, Rishikesh Style....

The workers were on strike for 4 days.

They really dug their heels in.... They wanted a pay rise - no strings attached. The pay rise was agreed, but in return Jitendra and the rest of the Clean Himalaya management team want to implement the new workers package of a pay rise and bonuses, but also fines for non attendance or sloppy work. The workers would just not agree, despite their wage demands being met.

At this point, the general sense seems to me is that the importance of the work they do is not very high on the workers' agenda. Yes, it is very hard work, but high profile, for Rishikesh, at least... - the workers are familiar figures in their Clean Himalaya uniforms. But there seems to be little interest in helping make the area a better place to live in or visit or any wider pollution or environmental concerns.

On the 5th day, 2 of the workers came back. Interestingly, it was the longest serving men, Chotilal and Vikas. They have also agreed to sign up for the management package of pay, bonuses and fines. In recognition of their loyalty, (and because they have more work to do...) they have been given more money than was originally asked for and a small delay before the system of fines is started for real. Call it a trial run!

By the way, one of the workers, Sonu, has gone home to his village. He does not know about the strike, but equally, Clean Himalaya has no idea when he will be back!

The other men who we had been out collecting with, Sanjay, Arun, Aswani and Surinder will not now be taken back, should they appear at the workshop wanting to rejoin Clean Himalaya. Jitendra has some temporary staff sorting the rubbish and is looking out for permanent recruits.

So, Clean Himalaya is back on track - much to the relief of the volunteers (us!). The day after we all went collecting in the monsoon downpour, we were back out again making the same collection runs. Marc and I were on foot again, on the other side of the Laksman Jhula bridge. It was a bright, sunny and most importantly, dry day. Compared with the previous day's misery - we were sorting and carrying the junk with light hearts, though it is something that we don't really want to have to do on a daily basis. Hurrah for Chotilal and Vikas!

1 comment:

 altonzane said...

I think that It will be very sad day for them because Workers on strike. These is one of best move in a industrial style.

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