Bangalore: 10,000 garbage collectors call for strike over non-payment of wages

At least 10,000 garbage collectors in Bangalore called a strike this weekend over non-payment of wages. BBMP garbage contractors claimed their wages had not been paid for six months.

10,000 people work door-to-door garbage collection in the city (Photo: Flickr/Representational)

Claiming that Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials failed to pay the bills, around 10,000 garbage collectors called a strike in the city. The city’s garbage collection process is likely to be affected as collectors have threatened to stage a Friday-Monday protest over non-payment of wages.

Members of the BBMP refuse contractors association claimed they had not received their salaries for six months now. SN Balasubramanian, president of the BBMP Garbage Contractors’ Association, told the Deccan Herald (DH) that the city’s civic body had not authorized his payments for seven consecutive months. At least 10,000 people work in door-to-door garbage collection.

“Over Rs 248 crore is pending with the BBMP. How can we carry out our work with such huge pending dues?” he was quoted by DH as saying.

The protests took place earlier too

According to Balasubramanian, the 10,000 garbage collectors of the secondary division posted in 198 districts are entitled to a monthly salary of Rs 14,000.

He told TOI that the medical waste generated during the Covid-19 pandemic is high and toxic, but the BBMP has still not released their amount owed. The president said this is the fourth time in two years that the garbage contractors association has decided to go on strike over non-payment of dues.

“Every time we decide to protest, BBMP officials promise to release our payments and pressure us to withdraw our protest, but this time we won’t listen to them. None of the dumpsters will pick up litter” , did he declare.

He added that the association is unable to pay the collectors due to the delay in payments from the BBMP. He added that they wanted to discuss the matter with the Chief Secretary.

BBMP to find a solution

BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta said he was aware of the situation, adding that he would talk to officers to find a solution quickly.

In asking collectors to call off the strike, BBMP officials said they were ready to address any genuine grievances. BBMP co-commissioner Sarfaraz Khan said the city’s garbage collection should not be affected due to such disputes.

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Elaine R. Knight