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'We Want Better Pay': Women Emergency Helpline Workers Stage Protest in Lucknow

The woman workers contractual workers in Lucknow demanded a salary hike, job security, and better work conditions.

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At least 200 contractual women employees of the Dial 112 services, an emergency response support system of the Uttar Pradesh government, staged a protest outside in Lucknow's Arjunganj for a second consecutive day on Tuesday, 7 November, demanding a salary hike and better work conditions.

What happened? The contractual workers alleged that their salaries has not seen a hike for the last seven years, and sought a meeting with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to discuss their demand.

Several women were also detained by the Uttar Pradesh police and taken away in police vehicles.

What did protestors say? Harshita, an emergency helpline employee and protestor said, “We are demanding that our salary be hiked to Rs 18,000 from the current Rs 11,800 on which we are providing services for the past seven years. We haven’t received an increment. We are not even provided with an offer letter."

Harshita alleged that the employees have been protesting for over 24 hours and no one has come to hear their grievances.

“We have not been given new offer letters, but new appointments are being made which are unfair,” another protester said.

What are the demands of the protestors?

In a letter, accessed by The Quint, the protestors raised four demands:

  • An increase in their monthly salaries from Rs 12,000 to Rs 18,000

  • Two paid holidays per month

  • One government holiday per month

  • Job security

Meanwhile, Additional Director General (AGP) of 112 Police Ashok Kumar Singh said, “Call takers are now skilled workers and will not lose their jobs. According to the rules of the UP government, call takers are considered skilled workers, and there is no issue within the U.P. 112 system. We are in communication with the call takers, and any misunderstandings will be resolved."

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The Opposition's take: Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav launched an attack on the UP government, calling it "shameful, condemnable and unbearable."

In a tweet, Yadav shared a video of the police detaining the female workers and wrote, “This is not only the “pidah patra’ (letter written with pain) of one ‘Samvad Adhikari’, but from all of them. Even before meeting the chief minister, these sisters, who sat in dharna in the cold night, were taken into custody in the morning. The true form of BJP’s ‘Nari Vandan’ is ‘Nari Bandhan’. Shameful, condemnable, unbearable."

“Those who talk about giving reservations to women are giving them detainment. Have those who changed the name changed the name of ‘Reservation’ to ‘Hirasat’?”

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What has the UP government said?

When asked about the protests, Uttar Pradesh minister Jaiveer Singh said that the demands of the employees will be looked into and due action will be taken.

“We will take action on justified issues. They are our employees. It is our duty to take care of them,” Singh said, as quoted by news agency PTI.

In 2019, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched '112' Emergency Response Support System.

It is a pan-India number which provides immediate assistance for services like police (100), fire (101), health (108), women's safety (1090), and child protection.

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Topics:  rural women workers 

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