Over 6900 BMC Waste Management workers, for the past 20 years, have been fighting for their worker rights and a permanent worker status that guarantees social and job security. Instead, they have been neglected and sidelined due to their status as contract workers. Despite the Supreme Court and Bombay High Court judgements that mandated permanent status to 2700 contract workers seven months ago, the local government has refused to follow the court orders. The workers have been paid less than the prescribed minimum wage of Rs 15080. Payment of equal wages of Rs 21000 remains a far cry; besides which they have been exploited by the so-called contractors who have siphoned off the workers’ contributions towards Provident Fund and health insurance, unchecked by the municipal corporation. To further disregard their status as permanent workers despite the perennial nature of their work, the BMC treats these workers as volunteers to deliberately push them out of the ambit of every labour legislation.
64 workers since 2009 out of 2700 workers granted permanent status by the SC have lost their lives and countless others have been injured with permanent disability while on duty. The state government as well as the local government, have not provided the aggrieved families and the victims any compensation. The state government accepted the recommendations made by the Lad-Page committee in June 2017, that directs the municipal body to employ the family members of the deceased on priority. But this has been only on the paper and the state government has failed to implement it.
The voiceless and faceless workers of the BMC who strive to keep our city clean have been fighting a long battle with the municipal corporation to be recognised as their direct employees, in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling, in addition to social security and other worker rights.
As the workers continue to assert their rights, they ask their respected Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, whether they are indeed beneficiaries of your benevolence? Are they indeed ‘labharti’?
There is an urgent need to draw the attention of the citizens who are direct beneficiaries of the thankless service performed by the conservancy workers, day in and day out. Sign the petition to help put an end to the exploitative practices of the so-called contractors and the MCGM who are either mute spectators or are equally complicit in the violation of human, statutory and labour rights of thousands of individuals.