The lives of 884 Anganwadi workers in Delhi have been turned upside down after they were abruptly sacked for staging a month-long strike demanding higher fees and respectable working hours.
These workers, made up of several single mothers, received notice of dismissal on March 14 against their 39-day protest.
They claimed that although they served the public tirelessly during the pandemic-induced lockdown, they have not received their salaries since January and are somehow managing their household by borrowing money.
Anita, who received her layoff notice on March 16, is a single mother. She ran from pillar to post looking for a job to make sure her children’s studies weren’t affected.
“I borrowed money from relatives, worked as a part-time housekeeper, and somehow managed their tuition and fees. When I joined Anganwadi in 2007, my salary was 750 rupees. I worked a lot during the COVID lockdown, providing door-to-door rations, running vaccination campaigns, but our salaries have been suspended since January 2022. We haven’t even received masks, disinfectants or incitement in this regard from our department,” Anita said, adding, ”We tried to complain but our supervisor threatened us saying we were going to be fired.” pending since January.
Savita, also a single mother, received her dismissal notice the same day as Anita, saying: “I am a single mother and the sole breadwinner. I have a daughter who is studying. She tried to help me by giving private lessons. I lived in a rented house but had to move to a cheaper place after my layoff. I borrowed money from my brother to run the house.” Previously, she earned 9,741 rupees per month.
“Many laid-off workers have received text messages that their wages have been credited, but this is not reflected in their bank accounts,” she alleged.
”Anganwadi workers are being scammed with text messages, while our bank accounts are empty. A delegation of five dismissed workers tried to visit the women’s and children’s department, but the secretary refused to meet us. How are we supposed to register our complaints? Many of us even visited the bank branches to confirm much the same, but even the bank managers said that no money had been credited to our accounts,” said Poonam, another worker from ‘Anganwadi. A delegation met with Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on July 16 and submitted a memorandum to him on this subject. “LG had said it would consider their requests and intervene in the case soon,” they said.
In the absence of action, the Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (DSAWHU) met on Thursday outside the office of the city government’s Department of Women and Children’s Development in Kashmere Gate and launched slogans against the AAP-led Delhi government over the reinstatement of the sacked workers. DSAWHU claimed that 884 workers in Anganwadi had been served with dismissal notices and 11,942 with show cause notices by the Delhi government for participating in a strike more than a month earlier.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)