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The Smiles of a hard fought victory – Valmiki Safai Workers score a significant victory after 28 days of militant strike

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Joyous Safai Workers after a Victorious 28 day militant strike
Joyous Safai Workers after a Victorious 28 day militant

Seldom have they smiled together; stigmatized, fearful of their upper caste higher-ups, the Valmiki safai workers had accepted their social and economic subjugation in silence. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), the flag-ship of the Vibrant Gujarat, was their greatest tormentor for ages. AMC paid them less than minimum wages and any demand for higher wages was met by their swift removal from their temporary job. The officially recognized trade union that was led by a one their own caste brothers, had become an instrument of oppression of the management. But on 28th January, four thousand of them smiled together!

4000 smiles lit up the evening
4000 smiles lit up the evening

Such four thousand hapless safai workers, encouraged by the struggle of the temporary bus drivers and conductors of Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) under the banner of Mazdoor Sabha (One of the organizations behind Truth Of ) had decided to unite and for the first time in history, raise the banner of revolt. They struck work on 31st December, 2013 and despite every effort to break their struggle, remained united for the past four weeks. As a symbol of their militant unity, thousands of workers had sent their collective demand to AMC signed with their blood. On 28th January, 2014, the Corporation finally bent and agreed to a decent settlement.

Amrish Patel of Jan Sangharsh Manch and Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha led the struggle
Amrish Patel of Jan Sangharsh Manch and Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha led the struggle

The full time daily wage workers were to be made permanent with immediate effect and the part time daily wage workers were to be made full time workers in batches of 600. The wages of the part time and full time workers were to be increased by Rs. 750/- and Rs. 1500/- per month respectively and all would be given four days paid weekly off. The dispute regarding the permanency of the daily wage workers would now be referred to the Tribunal for adjudication.

Sweets and Colours of Victory
Sweets and Colours of Victory

The Valmiki Samaj of Gujarat welcomed the success of the victory of the safai workers and decided to join the 1st February, 2014, Ekta rally of Jan Sangharsh Manch and New Socialist Movement to forge a militant unity with the Muslims and other working people for an all out assault against the communal and pro-rich politics of BJP.

Read more here —  http://www.truthofgujarat.com/smiles-hard-fought-victory-valmiki-safai-workers-score-significant-victory-28-days-militant-strike/

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