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A networking process of waste picker organizations
Updated: 1 year 14 hours ago

Kenya And South Africa Announce Just Transition Initiative For Waste-pickers & Other Workers In The Plastic Value Chain

Fri, 12/02/2022 - 11:56

Just Transition Initiative builds on the Group of Friends of Waste-pickers launched a day before the INC began.

“Kenya would like to take this opportune moment to inform the plenary of the ‘Just Transition Initiative’ which is a joint initiative with the delegation of South Africa and the International Alliance of Waste Pickers and other relevant stakeholders, that seeks to foster the element of a just transition within the letter and spirit of the proposed legally binding instrument. Distinguished delegates, the Kenyan delegation would like to invite interested Member States who wish to secure an all-inclusive legally binding instrument that ensures the spirit of ‘leaving no one behind’, to approach the Kenyan or South African delegations for further engagement moving forward,” announced Dr. Ayub Macharia, representative of the Kenyan delegation in the recently concluded Intergovernmental Negotiations Committee meeting in Uruguay. The Just Transition Initiative builds on the Group of Friends of Waste Pickers inaugurated and hosted by the Government of Uruguay.

Dr. Ayub Macharia announcing Just Transition Initiative in the INC.

The Just Transition initiative was welcomed by waste pickers present at the INC1. A just transition is defined as ending plastic pollution in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind. It is based on making visible those already working at all stages of the plastic value chain, including workers under informal and cooperative settings, especially waste pickers, and recognizing their fundamental human dignity, and their historic contribution. It involves maximizing the social and economic opportunities of ending plastic pollution while minimizing and carefully managing any challenges – including through effective social dialogue among all groups impacted, and respect for fundamental human rights. A plan for a just transition will provide and guarantee better and decent work, social protection, more training opportunities, and greater job security for workers at all stages of the plastic value chain including workers in informal and cooperative settings, especially waste pickers, (because of the unique circumstances) and all workers affected by plastic pollution. Its specific outworking will depend on local context and local consultation.

“It’s been good this week to see such widespread recognition of the vital role we waste pickers play. Now countries need to design the treaty with our livelihoods and human rights in mind. Personally I’m very pleased to see my country South Africa leading the way on this, alongside Kenya, by launching the Just Transition Initiative as a joint initiative with the International Alliance of Waste Pickers and other stakeholders,” said Maddie Koena, the South African member of the delegation of International Alliance of Waste Pickers. Soledad Mella Vidal, a waste picker from Chile welcomed the initiative, “In these important negotiations, a concept of Just Transition has been proposed which emphasizes decent work and human and our interpretation of a Just Transition is clear: guaranteeing that waste pickers can remain and advance in value chains, improving our working conditions, and ongoing investment in our work.” Barbra Weber, waste picker delegate from the United States of America added, “Just Transition is not only for those of us who collect and process plastics, but also for those of us who live and work amidst the pollution from plastics production and management. This requires direct funding for our communities, appropriate technology transfer, and decent and safe work in reuse, repair and mechanical recycling.”

South African, Kenyan and Uruguayan government delegates along with the delegation of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers. Picture Courtesy: John O. Chweya.

Ms. Mamogala Musekene, South African Government representative and chair of the Group of Friends of Waste-pickers shared that a submission on modalities informed by the Just Transition Initiative will be developed in consultation with the International Alliance of Waste-pickers and will be finalized in the next few months before the next INC.

Categories: A2. Green Unionism

‘Group of Friends of Waste Pickers’ is inaugurated during the INC-1 in Uruguay.

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 11:50


Punta del Este, Uruguay – The Group of Friends of Waste Pickers was inaugurated today, during the first international negotiations committee (INC-1). The group, which will be a platform to hear waste pickers’ concerns in the ongoing negotiations, represents a historic moment for the workers of the informal waste sector. Never before have countries formally committed to advocate on behalf of waste pickers in the context of international negotiations.

“A legal framework must be established and ensured for the fair transition of waste pickers to new working conditions. A framework that takes care of their sources of income, that guarantees a honest and inclusive transition and that creates decent work opportunities for all.” said Mr. Adrián Peña, Minister of Environment of Uruguay,  in his inaugural address.

The group is a voluntary and informal space led by the UN member states and its inauguration session had the presence of representatives from Pakistan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Algeria, Norway, the United Kingdom, France, Canada,  Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Ecuador.

Ms. Mamogala Muskene, Director of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, and member of the South African delegation.

Ms. Mamogala Muskene, Director of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, and member of the South African delegation chaired the meeting, and encouraged the member states to ensure waste pickers’ interests are reflected in the future treaty. 

The biggest demand of waste picker groups is to develop a just transition plan: “A Just Transition must be done in a way that is fair and as inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind” reiterated Barbra Weber, one of the Intl. Alliance’s delegates. You can check all details from all delegates here.

Soledad Mella Vidal, president of the National Association of Grassroots Recyclers of Chile (ANARCH).

In addition, in the opening plenary of the INC, representatives of member states from South and Central America and Small island states mentioned the importance of involving waste pickers and workers in the informal economy. Africa region representatives emphasized the future plastics treaty must have reference to Just Transition for waste-pickers.

The Group of Friends of Waste Pickers  is a voluntary and informal platform led by the Member States. Membership is open to all UN Member States who agree to the principles of waste pickers inclusion in the Plastics Treaty process. The International Alliance of Waste Pickers initiated the process of constitution of the Group of Friends in the plastics treaty process, and was supported by: WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing), the Government of Uruguay, Tearfund, GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives), the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the Norsk Institut for Vannforskning (NIVA).


Read the full statement here: 2022-11_group-friends-wastepickers_english


Press contacts:

Eduardo Derrico, Global Communications Officer | +330611795906


Note to Editor: For more information on waste picker participation in the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations, please visit our webpage:



The Intl. Alliance of Waste Pickers is a networking process that connects and supports thousands of waste picker organizations in over 28 countries covering mainly Latin America, Asia and Africa. Supported by WIEGO — Women in Informal Economy: Globalizing and Organizing — the Alliance has taken waste pickers to the world stage at international climate change conferences and events to highlight the need for global policies that help, not hinder, their work.

Categories: A2. Green Unionism

The International Alliance of Waste Pickers at COP27 – Egypt

Tue, 11/08/2022 - 07:44

With the support of GAIA and WIEGO, the International Alliance of Waste Pickers will participate in COP27 in Egypt. The delegation will be in Sharm El Sheikh from the 10th to the 18th of November. The delegation comprises a waste picker representative from South Africa (Luyanda Hlatshwayo) and a representative from the Egyptian Waste Pickers (Zabaleen) from Cairo, and WIEGO’s Waste Pickers Program Africa Coordinator and International Alliance of Waste Support team.


Our Delegation will be lobbying for the recognition of waste pickers as environmental workers who are contributing to climate change mitigation. Through their activities in collecting, sorting, recovering, and recycling waste, waste pickers help mitigate climate change and they call for this contribution to be recognized at global, national and local levels. For example, in 2020, waste pickers from Colombia’s Association of Waste Pickers of Bogotá (ARB) prevented the emissions of over 407 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent (eCO2), while India’s SWaCH Cooperative mitigated the emissions of more than 211 tons of CO2. Taken together, the avoided emissions are equivalent to removing a total of 133 thousand passenger cars from the road each year. 

The Alliance will continue to document workers’ contributions to climate change mitigation and advocate these contributions be recognized through integration and inclusion in municipal waste management strategies, access to related climate funds, and relevant national policies.

For more information, please contact Amira El Halabi at or +905526954479. 

Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Solidarity Message from Public Services International (PSI) – Daria Cibrario

Tue, 11/01/2022 - 07:50

Dear sisters and brothers of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (Globalrec). It is a real pleasure to address a short message to salute and congratulate you on the launch of your Constitution. My name is Daria Cibrario, and I’m in charge of Local and Regional Government Service Workers at Public Services International (PSI), which is the global trade union Federation representing workers in public services worldwide, including in municipal waste collection, disposal and all ancillary and related services.

Our workers, like many of the informal waste pickers that you represent, provide life-saving and essential services to our cities, rural communities, intermediary towns and small urban centers. And therefore, all together, we provide a key service, which is absolutely essential to preserve public health, to preserve the environment and to make sure that people live in dignity. But we know all too well that also formal waste collectors,, those we represent, often do not live in dignity and do not have decent working conditions that they should be entitled to as human beings. Because decent work is not a luxury. It is a human right. And this is why, together, unions representing workers in local public services, but also informal workers organization must and shall stay together. United, reclaiming decent working conditions for waste service workers across all categories, be them formalized in a public service, informal or in the private sector.

However, dear comrades, sisters and brothers, we also must recognize what we need. Collectively to transform the waste services that exist today in many countries. Such services are mismanaged in an inhuman way and the working conditions and the living conditions of not only many of the informal workers but also some of who we consider or are considered by definition as formal, but still live and work in very indecent conditions, sometimes with extremely precarious contracts. The lack of personal protective equipment, lack of social security, lack of pension and access to health and other life-saving services are unacceptable. This is why together we must continue to stand united. Now that you’re going to establish a a new form of your International Organization, even more.

We need to unite our strengths and our forces to bring progressive substantial change so that not only local authorities but also the private sector can no longer thrive on the cheap labor and exploitative working conditions that all workers across different status endure and suffer in a majority of countries worldwide. With that, I hope we can continue our dialogue, both at global but also at a regional and local level, and actually deepen and widen it, because there’s a lot of work to do. We should not go solo on this, we need to re-strategize together and work in a consistent, and united manner, so that we can reclaim decent working conditions for all workers. Thank you very much, and again, congratulations on the launch of your Constitution.


Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Why are waste pickers’ organizations uniting worldwide?

Fri, 10/28/2022 - 05:37

Organizations of waste pickers from around the world have been fighting for decades for the recognition of their work, their occupation, and their rights. This Saturday, October 29th, after more than ten years of international networking, 36 waste pickers’ organizations in 34 countries are formally launching the first global waste picker trade union: the International Alliance of Waste Pickers. With an estimated 20 million people in the world working as waste pickers, the establishment of the Alliance and ratification of its Constitution represents a milestone moment in a bottom-up process to organize the sector.

“With serious resolve to grow a culture of tolerance, collective effort, and peace, we commit to value our work, to obtain a dignified life and good living for our workers, and to care for and heal our common home, and we consolidate our organization in this international waste pickers’ alliance”, states the Preamble of the organization’s Constitution. The Constitution will be launched through a Virtual Congress where waste picker leaders and activists from 5 continents will highlight the history of the movement, outline their demands as a sector and share waste pickers’ agenda for action.

What is in the waste pickers’ agenda? 

The Alliance’s agenda for action is centered around the right to work and the recognition of waste pickers in the environment and climate change agenda. Priorities include:

1. Defend waste pickers’ right to work and their rights as workers: The privatization of waste management systems and closure of open dumps pose significant threats to waste pickers’ livelihoods as they are displaced from their work sites or prevented from realizing their right to work. The Alliance will advocate for the recognition of waste pickers (as workers) who play an important role in waste management systems and who deserve a fair wage that compensates them for their environmental contribution. It will fight for public policies that improve the working and living conditions of the recyclers of the world.

2. Claim waste pickers rights on the International Labour Organization’s agenda: In  adopting a democratic Constitution, the Alliance aims to gain recognition and accreditation as a representative international organization of waste pickers in negotiating structures such as the International Labour Conference of the ILO. This would enable workers to advocate for priority issues such as occupational identity, access to safe, healthy and secure working conditions, social welfare, social security, and gender-sensitive personal protective equipment for all waste pickers with the hope this will lead to improved living and working conditions for workers in their sector.

3. End Plastic Pollution: Every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the ocean, endangering aquatic life, threatening human health and resultings in myriad hidden costs for the economy. Such a global threat requires a global response – and waste pickers must participate in the process to establish the response. The United Nations Environment Assembly – via an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee – is developing an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution. Waste pickers successfully advocated to be recognized in the United Nations Environmental Assembly UNEA Resolution 5/14 entitled ‘End plastic pollution – towards an international legally binding instrument’ a landmark moment. The Alliance will continue to ensure waste pickers are included in the Plastics Treaty negotiations, and for the Treaty to recognize the work of waste pickers.

4. Advocate that Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) initiatives acknowledge waste pickers’ historical and ongoing contribution to waste management and recycling: The Alliance believes that EPR should recognize that waste recovery generates a large number of livelihoods, and contributes to the incomes of millions of individuals. Also, governments across the world should recognize waste pickers’ contributions to resource recovery, conservation and transforming recyclables; and stop the systemic repression of their work and lives, ultimately jeopardizing recycling rates and the mitigation of climate change and marine plastic pollution. For the past three years, the Alliance has collectively developed a common position to push for mandatory government-led and environmentally robust EPR.

5. Recognize waste pickers as environmental workers who are contributing to climate change mitigation: Through their activities in collecting, sorting, recovering, and recycling waste, waste pickers help mitigate climate change and they call for this contribution to be recognized at global, national and local levels. For example, in 2020, waste pickers from Colombia’s Association of Waste Pickers of Bogotá (ARB) prevented the emissions of over 407 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent (eCO2), while India’s SWaCH Cooperative mitigated the emissions of more than 211 tons of CO2. Taken together, the avoided emissions are equivalent to removing a total of 133 thousand passenger cars from the road each year. The Alliance will continue to document workers’ contributions to climate change mitigation and advocate these contributions be recognized through integration and inclusion in municipal waste management strategies, access to related climate funds and relevant national policies.  As in previous UN Climate Change Conferences, the International Alliance of Waste Pickers will participate in COP27 in Egypt.

Who will be affiliated?

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Countries with prospective affiliates and observers include:

  • Africa: Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Niger, Guinée, and Togo.
  • Asia: India, Bangladesh, Nepal. Indonesia as an observer.
  • Europe: France. Italy as an observer.
  • Latin America: Brasil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Panama, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, El Salvador.
  • North America: USA and Canada.
Historic moments for the waste pickers’ movement

The first international networking of waste pickers began in 2005, when RedLacre, the Latin American Network of Recyclers brought together emergent organizations of waste pickers across Latin America. Three years later, the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers (GlobalRec) celebrated its First International Conference, in Bogotá (Colombia), hosting organizations from America, Africa, and Asia. Since then, there have been many collaborations between organizations across regions, multiple exchanges and international workshops. In the last three years, through a constitutive process, this international networked movement has developed a joint vision, in the shape of a constitution, that allows them to achieve a global united movement of waste pickers.

Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Constitution launching congress this Saturday Oct. 29th – Register!

Mon, 10/24/2022 - 01:54

We have been fighting for many years for the recognition of our work, our profession and our rights. Now, with the strength of hundreds of waste pickers’ organizations in 26 countries around the globe, we are launching our Constitution. It will give us the foundation to build a solid bottom-up waste picker global organization, after a long period of international networking without a formal registration.

In 2005, we started RedLacre, the Latin American Network of Recyclers. Four years later, we formed the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers (GlobalRec). Finally, in the last two years, through a constitutive process, we have developed a joint vision that allows us to achieve a worldwide unity of waste pickers.

On October 29th, 2022 we will hold a Virtual Congress to Launch Our Constitution, which will allow us to formalize ourselves as an international organization of waste pickers. We are pleased to invite you to a very important event for all waste pickers around the world!

Register to participate

The congress will take place as a Zoom meeting, which has a limit of participants. Once you register we will send you a zoom link to participate in the event. If we reach the limit of participants we will provide an alternative video streaming access. Thanks for your understanding.

Visit the constitution launching congress dedicated page for all the information about the event.

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Important reports and manifestos Prospective affiliates #

List of Prospective affiliates and observers from the adoption session on October 17th 2022 session.

# Region Country Representative Name of the organization Status 1 Africa Ghana Divine Dekonor Kpone Prospective Affiliate 2 Africa Senegal Harouna Niasse Bokk Diom Prospective Affiliate 3 Africa Burkina Faso Souleymane Sampebgo ATTAC/CADTM Burkina Prospective Affiliate 4 Africa Democratic Republic of Congo Anne Matondo Ligue pour les Droits de la Femme Congolaise ( LDFC) Prospective Affiliate 5 Africa Kenya John Chweeya KeNaWPWA Prospective Affiliate 6 Africa Mali Ibrahima Sidibé l'Association Maliennes des Trieuses de déchets sur les dépôts AMTDDO Prospective Affiliate 7 Africa Nigeria Friday Oku NASWON Prospective Affiliate 8 Africa South Africa Lefa Mononga SAWPA Prospective Affiliate 8 Africa South Africa Luyanda Hlatshwayo ARO Prospective Affiliate 9 Africa Benin Fifame Farolle Houngbo FINANMIN Prospective Affiliate 10 Africa Niger Zeinabou Habou Barma FENASEIN Prospective Affiliate 11 Africa Guinée Absent EGIG BTP Prospective Affiliate 12 Africa Togo Absent SYNAPROME Prospective Affiliate 13 Asia India Sushila Sable Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers Prospective Affiliate 14 Asia Bangladesh Maksud Bangladesh Waste-pickers Union Prospective Affiliate 15 Asia Indonesia Pris Polly IPI Observer 16 Asia Nepal Shanti Tamang Samyukta Safai Jagaran Prospective Affiliate 17 Europe Italy Pietro Luppi ReteOnu Observer 18 Europe France Samuel Le Coeur Amelior Prospective Affiliate 19 Latinamerica Brasil Alex Cardoso MNCR Prospective Affiliate 20 Latinamerica Colombia Nohra Padilla ANR Prospective Affiliate 21 Latinamerica Argentina Leonor Larraburu FACCyR Prospective Affiliate 22 Latinamerica Chile Soledad Mella ANARCH Prospective Affiliate 23 Latinamerica Panama Yenny del Carmen MNRP Prospective Affiliate 24 Latinamerica Bolivia Absent Red de Recolectores de Bolivia Prospective Affiliate 25 Latinamerica Dominican Republic Robinson Movimiento Nacional de Recicladores de República Dominicana Prospective Affiliate 26 Latinamerica Ecuador Elvia Pisuña RENAREC Prospective Affiliate 27 Latinamerica Mexico Abel Balderas Unión de Trabajadores de Desechos Sólidos Industrializables Lázaro Cárdenas del Río Prospective Affiliate 28 Latinamerica Uruguay Absent UCRUS Prospective Affiliate 29 Latinamerica Honduras Absent Movimiento Nacional de Recicladores en Honduras Prospective Affiliate 30 Latinamerica Nicaragua Absent Mesa Nacional de Recicladores de Base de Nicaragua Prospective Affiliate 31 Latinamerica Paraguay Absent Asociación El Progreso Prospective Affiliate 32 Latinamerica El Salvador Absent - Prospective Affiliate 33 NorthAmerica USA Ryan Castallya (on behalf of Josefa Marin) Sure We Can Prospective Affiliate 33 NorthAmerica USA Barbie Weber GroundScore Prospective Affiliate 34 NorthAmerica Canada Absent Binners Project Observer
Categories: A2. Green Unionism

We Speak Too webinar, by Sanitation Workers in Mumbai

Fri, 09/23/2022 - 02:57

A multi-city series of curated seminars — ‘We speak too, by Sanitation Workers’, co-organised by Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and the Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers, provides a platform for sanitation workers playing various roles in various urban contexts to come together to narrate their stories, challenges, and experiences for diverse audiences.

The first part of the seminar series was held in Bangalore, and it was a learning experience for all participants. We had the opportunity to hear about the workers’ unique experiences, their troubles, and their demands.

This seminar series now travels to Mumbai to bring forth the voices of the city’s sanitation workers and understand aspects of their lives from their own perspectives.

Stream the event at on September 24th, 2022, Saturday from 4-6 pm (India Standard Time (IST), UTC +5:30).

Date: September 24th, 2022
Time: 4 – 6 pm IST
Venue: College of Home Science, Nirmala Niketan49, New Marine Lines, Mumbai

For more information, visit

Profiles of participants Profile of Moderator

Kalpana Sharma is an independent journalist, columnist and author based in Mumbai, India. In almost five decades as a journalist specializing in developmental, environmental and gender issues, she has worked with Himmat Weekly, Indian Express, Times of India and The Hindu. She was Consulting Editor with Economic & Political Weekly and Readers’ Editor with Her column on gender, “The Other Half” ran for 30 years first in Indian Express and then The Hindu. Currently, she writes a media column in She has written two books and is the editor of four titles. Her latest book is “The Silence and the Storm: Narratives of violence against women in India” (2019).

Profile of Sushila Mokal

Sushila started waste picking when she was at the age of 10 along with her mother. Her father died when she was seven years old. Hence the responsibility of the family fell on her mother due to which she adopted waste picking as an occupation. Sushila got married at the age of 12. Her mother in law was also a waste picker. Sushila started waste picking by roaming on the streets. In 1998, Stree Mukti Sanghatana came into her life. She started participating in various trainings of Stree Mukti Sanghatana and she learned skills like gardening & composting. After learning the work of composting, she started working on a composting project in Tata Colony. For the last 15 years, she has been working as a supervisor in the composting project. Under her supervision, fifteen societies are doing composting in society premises. She also plays a crucial role in communication and outreach with the society members by taking awareness sessions to convince them to install composting pits. She is a secretary of Vasundhara Cooperative. Vasundhara Cooperative is a waste pickers cooperative formed by Stree Mukti Sanghatana. Vasundhara Cooperative takes the contracts of housekeeping work, composting work and waste management at various events.

Profile of Ramkala

Due to drought in 1972, Ramkala’s family migrated to Mumbai in search of work. Her mother and father adopted waste picking as an occupation. She studied up to 7th standard. She got married at the age of 17. Due to the abusive nature of her husband, she decided to live alone with her two daughters. When her child was 3 months old, she started picking waste at the Deonar dumping ground. For the last 25 years, she has been picking waste at Deonar and Diva Dumping. She taught her daughters well and now her elder daughter is a nurse and another daughter is a beautician. In 1999, she became a member of Stree Mukti Sanghatana. She attended various leadership training sessions of Stree Mukti Sanghatana which led to increased confidence and leadership qualities among her.
Currently she is a committee member of Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sangha. Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sangha is a federation of self-help groups of waste pickers. PBVS has a membership of around 2000 waste-pickers and runs 7 Dry Waste Collection Centres in Mumbai.

Profile of Sanjana Lavera:

Sanjana is working as a toilet cleaner in Bhandup region of Mumbai. When she was 10 years old, her father died and hence the responsibility of family fell on her. From the age of 10, she started the work of toilet cleaning. She has been cleaning the toilet which was built by the Municipality. She doesn’t have her own house. There is some space on the first floor of the toilets and she lives there. Municipality doesn’t give her payment, she gets payment from the Corporator. Monthly she earns Rs 6000 , But she told me that from the last six months she hasn’t received any payment. She also said that she does the work of toilet cleaning because she wants to live with self respect and earns money from her own efforts. As a trans person, she frequently faces abuse by men.

Profile of Ravi Kannan

Ravi Kannan belongs to Tamilnadu state and he came to Mumbai in 1989 in search of work. In the beginning, he was working on a debris vehicle on a contractual basis. From morning 6 o’clock to evening 9 o’clock, he was getting hardly Rs. 100. In 1996, ‘Kachra Vahtuk Shramik Sangh’ requested him to become a member of the union. ‘Kachra Vahtuk Shramik Sangh’ is a union of sanitation workers in Mumbai. In 1996, he became a member of the union. With the help of a union, sanitation workers filed a petition in the court demanding a permanent basis of employment. With lots of struggle and agitation, he became the permanent in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in 2006. Along with him, a total of 1200 dumping workers became permanent in BMC. Now he is working on corporation vehicles and collecting waste from societies and open dumps. Before 2006 he was working as a dumping worker. When he became permanent in BMC then he received an identity card and now he is a ‘Motor Loader’ on BMC waste collection vehicle. He is also a joint secretary of Kachra Vahtuk Shramik Sangh-Maharashtra Municipal Kamgar Union.

Profile of Shivaji Badekar

For the last 13 years, Shivaji has been working as a drainage maintenance worker in the Storm Water Drain Department in Dadar. He studied up to 12th standard but due to extreme poverty, he left education and chose drainage maintenance work as an occupation. He is working on a contractual basis with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. In the beginning, he was getting Rs. 70 for the whole day. In 2014, drainage workers formed the union named Maharashtra Municipal Kamgar Union. Due to the formation of a Union and workers ongoing struggles, drainage workers started receiving payment according to minimum wages. With the support of the union, drainage workers filed a case in a court for permanent basis of employment. This struggle is still ongoing. He also said that he is not getting the proper money for his overtime work. In the pandemic, he demanded for sanitizer but BMC hesitated in providing sanitizer and his work was stopped for 15 days. He also told , there is no social security in this work. Due to the support of the union, drainage workers got the strength to fight for their rights.

Profile of Sachin Gaikwad

Sachin Gaikwad 2007 septic tank/sewerage cleaner.

Sachin Gaikawad joined BMC as a sanitation worker back in 2007 and was immediately tasked with cleaning the open dumps in the city. Educated till 5th standard, there were very few employment opportunities with Sachin and this prompted him to adopt and continue working as a sanitation worker. However, with time, as his family grew, Sachin was left with no option to look for supplementary income. This brought him to work as a part time septic tank/ sewage blockage cleaner in the city. Sachin feels his job is challenging and his employers are non cooperative. With BMC, after repeated pleas of permanent employment were rejected, Sachin and his colleagues moved to court seeking for job security. Sachin feels his work could have been made easier if he could access PPE, which is denied by his employers and often too costly for him to purchase out of pocket. With 2 sons growing up, Sachin hopes they will study and be employed in professions less challenging from that of his own.

Categories: A2. Green Unionism

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