In Maharashtra, ASHA workers strike indefinitely in demand for proper wages and organised working hours. With over 70,000 women health workers on protest since Tuesday, there is expected to be a strain on healthcare provisions and assistance in rural areas.
Through the pandemic, ASHA workers have been relentless in COVID-19 work in India’s rural areas, bridging the gap between central-state notifications and remote knowledge of the health calamity. They have been involved extensively in screening, tracing, and frontline work, despite pay cuts and delay.
5 Things About ASHA Workers Strike In Maharashtra:
1. With the load of COVID-19 work, Accredited Social Health Activists’ (ASHA) hours have increased upto 9 hours a day, as against the 3-5 hour limit per day. Their pay however remains stagnant at Rs 5000 per month with dues not having been cleared in the bygone months, as per reports.
2. ASHA workers have gone on indefinite strike in a bid for reform in their honorarium that they are demanding be increased to Rs 18000 commensurate with the work they are doing in the pandemic.
3. COVID-19 kit health essentials – masks and sanitisers – as well as insurance cover for ASHA workers reportedly have a lot of loose ends without a solid plan to carry them through the crisis. Their indefinite strike also makes a demand for rectification in these areas, as well as in the lack of reservations and bonuses.
4. In other states too, ASHA workers have raised similar concerns. “Even the pittance of a compensation declared by government for the next of kin of ASHA workers remains just on paper. The packages declared by various governments have been denied to them,” the All-India Committee of Scheme Workers’ Federation of India said in May, as quoted in New Indian Express.
5. Latest reports suggest ASHA workers had planned on marching to the Kolhapur parishad office Wednesday to rally their cause. “Our demands are simple, respect our dignity,” Netradipa Patil, ASHA district president, was quoted saying.