10 central workers’ unions to observe strike for ASHA, anganwadi workers

The two day strike on August 7 and 8 will be followed by a jail bharo andolan on August 9, demanding better pay and safety gear for scheme workers, among other demands


All community level scheme workers’ unions are going on two day strike on August 7 and August 8 to protest against non-availability of PPE kits, insurance as well as risk allowance.  All scheme worker unions affiliated with central trade unions like Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC),  All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) will be a part of this strike.

Community level workers such as those associated with anganwadis, Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), Midday Meal, National Health Mission (NHM), Samagra Sikksha have been working relentlessly right from the beginning of the lockdown to help the government mitigate and control the spread of Covid-19 virus. Anganwadi workers and ASHA workers have constantly been on the ground helping in contact tracing, ensuring that within their areas/villages people entering from other districts are kept under quarantine if needed and such other community level tasks that needed to be carried out to keep the spread of the virus in check. Many of these workers themselves contracted the virus and fell prey to it. Yet, no safety kits came from the government.

In many cases, they were not even paid their monthly wages on time, sometimes they were delayed for months together.  In Bihar, the ASHA workers have been on strike since 6 August 2020. In some states and areas where the Covid-19 situation is very bad, the scheme workers will work wearing black badges. August 9 is being regarded as Quit India Day with the slogan of “Save India Day” when the workers will be a part of the satyagraha.

The demands of the scheme workers have been put down as follows:

1.   Withdraw the proposals for privatization of basic services including health (including hospitals), nutrition (including ICDS and MDMS) and education Stop Privatisation of PSEs and Services.
2.  Make the Centrally Sponsored Schemes like ICDS, NHM and MDMS permanent with adequate budget allocation.

3. Implement the recommendations of 45th and 46th Indian Labour Conference for regularization of scheme workers as workers; Pay Minimum wages Rs.21,000 per month and pension Rs.10,000 per month; Provide Employee State Insurance (ESI) and Employee provident Fund (EPF) to all scheme workers.
4.   Enact legislation for right to universal healthcare as in case of right to food and right to education
5.   No Pro employer change in Labour Laws in the name of codification; No increase in working hours and freezing of Labour laws in the name of Covid Crisis. Include scheme workers in the category of workers.

6.   Free ration /food for all the needy and Rs.7,500 per month for all non tax paying families for six months; ensure Jobs and income for all.
7.   Safety gear for all frontline workers, especially the ASHA workers, anganwadi workers and those in the health sector; PPEs for those who are engaged in containment areas and red zone; Frequent, random and free Covid-19 test of all frontline workers; Do not engage those who are above 60yrs and those who have health problems in Covid-19 Duty.

8.   Rs 50 lakhs insurance cover to all frontline workers covering all deaths on duty and Pension/jobs for the dependants of the workers and also coverage of treatment for Covid-19 for the entire family.

9.   Additional Covid Risk Allowance of Rs.10,000 per month for all the contract and scheme workers engaged in Covid -19 duty, especially ASHA and anganwadi workers and workers in NHM. Payment of all the pending dues of wages and allowances etc., of all the Scheme workers immediately

10.  Compensation of minimum Rs. 10 lakhs for all those who got infected while on duty,
11.  The existing insurance schemes (a) Pradhan Mantri Jivan Jyoti Bima Yojana, (b) Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and (c) Anganwadi Karyakarti Bima Yojana must be implemented properly with universal coverage applicable to all scheme workers.
12.  Mid Day Meal Workers must be paid Rs.10,000 per month for the period when the schools are closed including the summer holidays; No contractorisation or centralised kitchen.
13.  Increase the budget allocation for Centrally Sponsored Schemes. Provide adequate additional ration with good quality for all the beneficiaries of Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) immediately; include return migrants in these schemes.
14.  Provide free and adequate COVID tests and treatment to all non tax-paying people; Ensure adequate facilities in quarantine centres and hospitals. Strengthen the public health system and the health infrastructure; Allocate 6% of GDP for the health sector.
15.  For Finance mobilisation, projects such as “Central Vista Project” be scrapped. Tax the super rich and recover the dues from willful defaulters for resources.



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