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Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka cleaners threaten strike if demands not met in a week

10,000 conservancy workers already lost their jobs

Update : 09 Feb 2021, 05:13 PM

Conservancy workers of Dhaka city have threatened to go on strike if their contractual recruitment through tender is not cancelled and the approval of the waste management firms that hired them is not renewed in a week.

At a human chain in front of the National Press Club on Tuesday morning, they also demanded to be certified by their organisation Primary Waste Collection Service Providers (PWCSP), reports Bangla Tribune. 

Nahid Akter Lucky, the platform's president, said Dhaka south and north city corporations are mainly tasked with the capital's household waste management. 

"But they are collecting waste only from the designated containers and dumping those in the Matual and Amin Bazar landfills," she said, adding, the city corporations' regular cleaners workers are more focused on cleaning roads.

Due to manpower shortage, the city corporations cannot have the household waste collected properly, and are thus depending on the contractual cleaners totalling some 19,000, she added.

The 19,000 conservancy workers, Nahid said, collect waste and dump it at the big trash bins from where the city corporations' vehicles ship those to the landfills, at a monthly service fee of Tk25-30.

Claiming that the contracts of many of her colleagues were not renewed, Nahid alleged: "In many wards, influential political leaders and councillors are trying to take advantage of the situation, to make a quick buck.”

The Dhaka South City Corporation has floated a tender for waste management in the meantime, leaving 10,000 workers unemployed, she said.

The PWCSP leader also feared many cleaners would lose their jobs due to the tender.    

"The service of waste management is being misused as a tool to make money," she alleged, before adding  they tried to meet both the city mayors, but in vain.  

"If our demands are not met in the next seven days by scrapping the tender and we are not certified, we will stop collecting household waste," Nahid warned. 

"We want approval of our job by formulating a fair guideline and setting a minimum service charge. Also, the mayors will have to sit with us at least once a month," she concluded. 

Late mayor Annisul Huq in 2015 empowered the platform to certify the cleaners in order to improve their service.

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