Sanitation workers of the MCD struck work on 14th October after their pending demands had not been met. The strike was organised under the leadership of the MCD Union Core Committee which comprises of 8 unions of sanitation workers across Delhi.
While on strike, the sanitation workers brought sweeping and garbage collection, along with other crucial sanitation work, to a standstill. The MCD officials were compelled to call the representatives of the unions to discuss the demands of the workers within two days of the strike. After assurances from the authorities of fulfilling some of their demands, the workers immediately called off the strike. They have decided that they will continue their struggle till all their demands are met.
The struggling sanitation workers told Mazdoor Ekta Lehar that more than 15,000 sanitation workers under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi have been working as daily wage laborers for more than 20 years and have been waiting for permanent jobs for years. Sanitation workers have not received their Diwali Bonus for the past three years, uniforms have not been received for the last five years, safety equipment such as masks, gloves, helmets, etc. have also not been provided by the Corporation for a long time.
Those working on daily wages are not given social security or health care facilities by the Corporation. These workers are hired by the corporation at a very low salary, only Rs.16,080 per month. They do not get any kind of compensation in case of an accident. In cases of death, no member of their family gets a compassionate job, pension, or any other compensation.
There is an acute shortage of sanitation workers in the Corporation. The work area has also been increased for the broom workers. Due to the shortage of sanitation workers, the workload on the existing workers increases tremendously, due to which, the cleaning work is also affected. Sanitation workers are forced to work even on holidays and are not paid any kind of compensation for this work.
The struggling sanitation workers have raised the demands of regularization of the jobs of daily wage labourers and providing them with all facilities and immediate payment of their bonus, among other demands. They have also demanded that immediate action be taken with regard to old grievances of the workers and that permanent jobs and dividends should be provided to the dependents of deceased workers.
The sanitation workers of the Corporation have been fighting for a long time demanding protection and improvement in their deteriorating working conditions. They have been repeatedly assured by the Corporation officials that these issues will be addressed, but their demands have not yet acted upon.
The sanitation workers have declared indefinite hunger strike starting from 26th October if the assurances given by the Corporation officials remain unfulfilled.