Waste-pickers of Pune to protest delays in safeguarding their livelihoods

Share this News:

Pune, August 14, 2020: The waste pickers in the city have begun a peaceful week-long protest starting today (August 14), in order to emphasise their demands for an income compensation from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), as well as insurance cover and other benefits that were approved by the PMC around five years ago.

SWaCH Pune Seva Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit has submitted a letter in this regard to the PMC. A statement issued by the SWaCH in this regard state that while the service users (i.e. the people from whom the waste pickers collect garbage) have been cooperative during these trying times, many are unable pay the user fees as they themselves have lost their livelihoods. This problem has persistent especially in the slum areas. Therefore, the organisation has demanded that the PMC should pay waste pickers Rs 30 per slum honorarium per month and Rs10 per non-slum honorarium per month for six months towards loss of user fees.

The protesters have also demanded that the PMC must provide a life Insurance cover of Rs 2 Lakh each for all waste-pickers of Pune. Insurance cover as per government provision has also been demanded for all those who have died of COVID-19 during the pandemic.

“While being termed ‘Essential Workers’ waste pickers continue to be deprived of basic benefits like life insurance and dues for work accomplished during the Corona lockdowns. Work has not suffered, but the waste pickers have suffered every possible loss from income deprivation, illness, and in five cases, even death during the pandemic,” said the SWaCH statement. Along with the insurance cover, the organisation has also demanded for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to waste pickers.

Waste-pickers will wear white ‘Freedom from Exploitation’ bands while working for a period of one week from today (Friday, August 14). A decentralised thali bajao andolan will be held on Monday, August 17 and Tuesday, August 18 at different locations including at the main gate of the PMC.