Unpaid for 20 months, PHE wage workers protest

Without emoluments for the last 20 months, wage employees of Public Health Engineering Department Wednesday protested here demanding their accumulated wages be released to them.

The protestors assembled at the Press Enclave under the banner of PHE Joint Employees Association and staged a demonstration raising slogans for their demand.

“Authorities are ignoring our plight. Despite repeated assurances our withheld wages have not been released so far,” said Ashiq Ahmad, a protestor.

Earlier, the association had deferred a pen-down strike last month when authorities assured them the wages would be released in May.

Mushtaq Ahmad, one of the protestors said that their families and dependents were suffering.

“Doctor has asked my ailing mother to undergo few medical tests. It has now been three months and still I am waiting for release of wages to take my mother for medical tests,” he said.

Ajaz Ahmad, another protestor said that local shopkeepers in his locality have asked him to clear past dues before borrowing anymore.

“In this ongoing holy month when people enjoy different varieties of delicious dishes at Iftaar and Sehri, the families of daily wagers are struggling for a simple meal,” Ahmad rued.

Sajad Ahmad Parray, president Kashmir PHE Joint Employees Association said that Eid-ul-Fitr is also just now two weeks away and their pockets are empty.

“Last month we deferred our protests after assurance from authorities that our wages would be released in May. It is 22 May today and 16th Ramadhan. Our pockets are empty,” Parray said.

We have not paid several months of tuition fees of children in their schools. We demand immediate release of wages.”

A few months earlier, authorities set up a committee to figure out how wages could be paid regularly every month. “The committee is yet to submit its recommendations,” Parray said.