RAWALPINDI: The cash-starved Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) workers threatened to go on strike from next week if they were not paid dues pending for the last three months.
“We have two options: either we should stop water supply or stage a sit-in on Murree Road,” said Wasa workers union chairman Raja Javed Hussain while talking to Dawn.
He said that the workers had called a union meeting to decide between the two options.
“Though we did not want to create problem for the new government, we need salaries on time. At present we get salaries by the month end. As a result we can’t pay house rent and schools fees of their children on time,” he said.
He said last three months dues of more than 1,400 workers had not been cleared as yet. He said the Wasa officials cited funds shortage as main reason for delay in payment of dues.
The agency has sought a bail-out package from the provincial government.
He said the Iesco had also sent disconnection notice to Wasa for not paying last two months bill, and once the service is severed the authority would be left with no option but to stop water supply.
He said that the financial crisis had created problems for the workers who find it difficult to manage their household budget.
Wasa has sought financial help from the provincial government to pay the electricity bills and salaries of the employees in September.
A senior official of Wasa told Dawn that the civic agency had sought Rs140 million from Punjab government to streamline the things.
He said that the electricity bill of Iesco worth Rs50 million for July was not paid and it had no money to pay the bill of August.
He said that there was a shortage of funds to pay the employees’ salaries.
“During Eidul Azha, Wasa gave salaries to the employees but the outstanding amount was pending for the last three months including overtime, leaves and other government allowances,” he said.
The Wasa official said there was no direct funding from the Punjab government and for last 10 years, the provincial government had stopped Wasa from increasing the water and sanitation charges.
Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018