Anganwadi Workers on Indefinite Strike in Maharashtra
THE All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers has, in a statement issued on January 25, congratulated the nearly two lakh anganwadi workers and helpers in Maharashtra for their successful indefinite strike. It has demanded that the chief minister of Maharashtra should urgently intervene and settle the issue. The anganwadi workers and helpers of Maharashtra are on an indefinite strike from January 6, 2014 demanding an increase in wages and implementation of the pension scheme which was declared as early as in 2005. The chief minister had assured the striking joint forum of anganwadi unions, after they held a huge rally in Azad Maidan, Mumbai on January 8, that the next day, he will get the clearance of the finance ministry and the cabinet will decide to increase the wages and implement the pension scheme. But he did not keep his promise. The agitated anganwadi workers and helpers in the state are still continuing the struggle with all of them coming into the streets. They are organising dharnas, rallies, rasta rokos, meetings and various programmes at the block, district and state levels since then. They are organising “bheekh mango” (begging) programme to ‘help’ the government which is saying they do not have enough money to pay them. Due to the unprecedented support received by the strike, the government was forced to have a discussion again with the leaders of the unions. The minister for women and child development and the minister for finance had assured the leadership that they will issue the orders for an increase in honorarium and on pension immediately. The unions decided to continue the strike till the orders are issued. The AIFAWH had condemned the anti-worker and anti-people attitude of the Maharashtra government which went back from the earlier decision on the pension and other promises and has resorted to harassment and victimisation of the striking employees. The AIFAWH has expressed its solidarity to the just demands of the striking employees and demanded that the chief minister of Maharashtra should urgently act upon his promises. It has called upon its state committees to organise solidarity actions including sending fax messages to the chief minister of Maharashtra to settle the issues immediately.