Srinagar: Sanitation workers of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) have threatened to go on an indefinite strike because they have not been paid their salary for the past five months.
The workers said that even as they are putting themselves to risk and working extra hours to prevent spread of Covid-19 in Srinagar, they are not even being paid the meagre salary they are entitled to.
President of the sanitation workers’ union, Ghulam Mohammad Solina, told Kashmir Reader that more than 4000 workers carry out garbage collection and sanitation work for the SMC. “They get a mere 6,750 rupees as salary, but for months now the corporation is not able to provide even that. The sanitation workers don’t have money to feed their family,” Solina said.
“The SMC should be paying us extra wages for the amount of work we are doing these days,” said Ghulam Mohammad, sanitation worker, “but even our basic salary is being withheld.”
Workers said that the SMC authorities have only turned a deaf ear to their demands, so the only option left is to stop work in protest.
“We are the ones who keep the city clean, but we are being deprived of even our wages,” said Abdul Satar, sanitation worker. “There are hundreds of us out on the streets all day but nobody is giving us any attention,” he added.
Apart from not being paid salaries, these sanitation workers are also not covered under any insurance or welfare scheme that compensates them for their occupational hazards.
Ward officers of the SMC told Kashmir Reader that the higher-ups say that as the SMC does not collect any sanitation fees from people of Srinagar, there is dearth of funds for salaries of sanitation workers.
An official of the SMC said that the salary will be released in a few days. “We are working on it. It will take two or three days to complete the procedure,” he said.