Pune: PCMC Corrects Minimum Wages For Waste Collectors After 6 Years

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Pimpri, 21st June 2021: On 24th February 2015, the Industries, Energy and Labour Department, Maharashtra created a new category under the Minimum Wages Act-Employment under any Local Authority (excluding Gram Panchayats)-to determine payment for all contract workers employed by local authorities.

After a prolonged struggle by waste pickers of Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) the Labour Welfare Officer, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) shared the order dated 16th June 2021 with Health HO, PCMC clarifying that waste pickers should be paid as ‘unskilled workers’ as per the 2015 notification.

Although PCMC had made the notification applicable from 1st April 2018, waste collection and cleanliness contract workers were excluded. Panvelkar, Additional Labour Commissioner, Pune City via letter dated 19th November 2019 had directed the then PCMC Commissioner Shravan Hardikar to pay all contract workers as per the 24th February 2015 notification. Thereafter Hardikar issued an order on 12th February 2020 making the new wage rates applicable to all contract workers from 1st January 2020. This order was not implemented. On the 9th of March 2021,  Sathe, Joint Secretary (Labour) wrote to the Commissioner, PCMC in response to clarification sought by the PCMC that wages to all contract workers must be paid as per local body wages.


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107 out of 125 of the elected representatives of PCMC supported the waste pickers’ demand, writing to the Mayor, Commissioner and Chairperson of the Standing Committee, urging implementation.

Activist Shrenik Mutha said, “It is high time that the PCMC takes cognizance of labour law violations of the waste pickers.”

Chaya Tribhuvan, a board member of KKPKP, said, “This landmark victory ensures that each of us gets around Rs 70,000 as wages due to them from January 2020. But the battle is only half won. We have been to court before and will go again if we have to, but the PCMC owes us money from 24th February 2015, not 1st January 2020. Their calculations are wrong.”


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Vijaya Chavan, a waste picker and KKPKP member added, “Struggling for what is rightfully ours is how we live. We fought against illegal honorarium-based contracts, forcing the PCMC to shift to minimum wage contracts. Then we fought for payment of our arrears and now, we have had to prove the correct rates for minimum wages. If we do all the work, what are the officers getting paid for?”


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