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Sanitary staff hold protest against paymaster

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LAHORE: J. Salik leads a demonstration by Lahore Waste Management Company sweepers on Egerton Road.—White Star
LAHORE: J. Salik leads a demonstration by Lahore Waste Management Company sweepers on Egerton Road.—White Star

LAHORE: A large number of sanitary workers on Thursday launched a massive protest for about seven hours against Lahore Waste Management Company and its contractor (Turkish companies) for ‘victimising’ them through various management tactics since merger of the City District Government Lahore’s solid waste management wing into LWMC.

According to the agreement, the CDGL had handed over its entire SWM assets to LWMC including 8,500 workers and machinery.

The workers led by Jharoo Mazdoor Union (Sanitary Workers Association) President Mushtaq Asi, General Secretary Pervaiz Naz and various minorities leaders including J. Salik gathered outside the Lahore Press Club and chanted slogans against the Punjab government for leaving them at the mercy of those who were treating them in an inhuman way.

The protesters blocked the roads leading to Simla Pahari.

Later, they marched towards Egerton Road at about 2pm and staged a sit-in near Aiwan-i-Iqbal till 7pm.

“Just look at workers. They clean the city daily, but no one wants to see them in clean clothes. It will only be possible, if they are given regular job,” Aslam Pervaiz Sahotra, a local minorities leader, told Dawn.

He said Wasa workers were entitled to medical cover at 21 designated hospitals. But in LWMC, no worker has such a facility.

He said supervisors were also involved in imposing heavy fines on their juniors for minor mistakes.

“If a worker comes to office slightly late, the whole-day salary is deducted. And if a worker goes on leave, salary for the entire leave period is deducted,” he said.

According to Pervaiz Naz, secretary general of the union, the LWMC while getting control of SWM had pledged to regularise all work-charged employees along with other benefits.

He said the contractor firms received Rs12,000 from LWMC against each worker’s salary, but Rs10,000 each were being paid.

He said LWMC did not pay them overtime for working during lunch timing and holidays which was mandatory under the law.

He announced that the protest would continue on Friday (today).

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2014