Civic services in the capital's northern parts may come to a halt as around 50,000 employees including nurses, paramedical, technical, teaching and sanitation staff of the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi (North MCD) have decided to go on an infinite strike from Thursday over persistent delay in their salary disbursal.
Employee leaders have said that they have informed the corporation about their decision and will cease their services in the area they have been deputed. However, the junior and senior doctors have not yet announced their participation in the protest.
Indumati Jaiswal, President of the Nurses' Welfare Association of Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, said that the nursing staff has not been paid for more than three months.
"We discontinued our protest last time because we were given assurances that our salaries would never be delayed. However, we have gathered now with a resolve to stay on strike until a permanent solution of this continuous issue is not brought," she said.
The salary delay has become a consistent issue in North MCD.
In October, the doctors of North MCD went on an indefinite strike over salary issues. In November, the nurses went on strike over the same issue. However, their protests were called off after they were provided with a month's salary and assurance that the delays would not be repeated in the future. However, the promise was never kept.
North MCD Mayor Jai Prakash said that the corporation had sought to convince the employees to change their mind and drop their decision of an indefinite strike, but had not succeeded so far.
"A marathon meeting was held between the corporation officials and all the unions representing different staff. We tried to convince them but failed in persuading them not to go on the strike.
However, he assured that the corporation would continue its efforts to not let the strike happen as it will make the whole of north Delhi come to a standstill.
"Imagine if no garbage is picked from the homes and no cleaning of roads are done for days. The whole area would turn into a dumpyard. We can't let that happen," he said.
As per estimate, all the employees from the civic body are unpaid for at least three months including the pensioners who have not received their monthly annuity for over 5 months. The Mayor acknowledged the state of affairs but blamed the Aam Aadmi Party government for not releasing the funds for the salary distribution.
"We need Rs 1,200 crore to clear the salary dues of our staff. The AAP government owes Rs 13,000 crore to all three civic bodies. Had we received our share, we would have cleared all the dues," he said.