Thousands of ASHA Workers Protest Demanding Wages in Bengaluru

Thousands of ASHA workers marched to Freedom Park in Bengaluru demanding wages allegedly unpaid for 15 months.

2 min read
Thousands of ASHA workers marched to Freedom Park in Bengaluru on 3 January, demanding payment of wages allegedly delayed by 15 months.

Thousands of workers of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), reportedly employed as ‘honourary volunteers’ by the state government, gathered from across Karnataka in Bengaluru demanding immediate payment of unpaid dues and a fixed monthly honorariums, among other demands.

According to The Times of India, approximately 30,000 workers marched from the city railway station to Freedom Park, where they staged a dharna demanding Rs 12,000 fixed honorarium per month and delinking of certain other incentives.

D Nagalakshmi, secretary of the Karnataka State Samyukta ASHA Workers’ Association, reportedly said,“We will stage a two-day day-and-night strike in Bengaluru and continue the strike indefinitely in our districts till our demands are met,” she said.

The march through the city caused major traffic jams and disruptions around Anand Rao circle and surrounding areas.

‘No Fixed Salary’

According to a report in The News Minute, ASHA workers are entitled to a fixed salary of Rs 6,000 per month, plus a variable incentive based on performance. However, protesting workers said that they had not been paid for the last 15 months.

From computer errors causing delayed to workers being paid irregular amounts instead of fixed wages per month, workers reportedly want a salary hike and employment regularisation making them permanent employees eligible for more benefits.

In a statement, commissioner of Health and Family Welfare Services Karnataka denied this claim and reportedly said: “ The remuneration under state government component of Rs 4,000 as well as NHM component of Rs 2,000 performance-based incentives which ranges from Rs 3,000 to 4,500 has been paid to ASHAs up to November 2019 and December 2019 payments are under process.”

Health B Sriramalu said that the workers’ demands were under review.

(With inputs from The Hindu, The News Minute & The Times of India)

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