THE Bihar ASHA workers’ strike, which began on December 1, 2018, ended on 8 January after the Government conceded certain key demands including a monthly honorarium of Rs 1000 and an enhanced sum of Rs 2000 for routine jobs like maintaining survey registers etc, which ASHA workers in Bihar had not been getting till now.
The Government had refused to negotiate for a month, and had even initiated repressive measures against the ASHAs. When it finally came to the negotiating table, it claimed that it was in no position to give monthly honorarium to ASHA workers, since ASHA workers work as volunteers under a central scheme. But the Government was forced to come to the negotiating table by the determined Strike to agree to an honorarium. After four rounds of talks with the concerned government officials led by the Chief Secretary, Dept. of Health the Health Minister declared in a press conference to accept and implement the 12-point demand charter of ASHA workers. Besides demands of increasing honorarium, ten percent reservation for qualified ASHAs in ANM training schools, provision for appointment of qualified ASHAs on the post of BCMs, to pay all pending dues of ASHA workers in the state by 31 March, to cover ASHAs under various insurance schemes, were also agreed upon. The Government also agreed to prepare an ASHA service guide book, which is an essential mark of their status as Government workers.
The ASHA Joint Struggle Forum will hold a victory rally on 12 January at Patna.