KARACHI: On Jan 26, the Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered the government to pay sanitary employees a legal minimum wage of Rs25,000.
The decision was made in response to a petition. It asked the local government department and Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) to apply the minimum wage rule to all the employed sanitation workers.
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A sanitation employee named Naeem Sadiq says they are being paid ‘significantly’ less than the minimum wage. The petitioners further claim that they receive no benefits. They take health risks which exposes them to toxic pollutants. Their work also requires them to descend into sewer drains as well. Sanitation workers stated that because safety precautions and protective equipment were lacking in the industry, some of them died while carrying out their duty. They added that the deceased’s family never gets compensation for it.
What are they demanding:
The petitioners demanded for Constitution Article 9 and 25 be invoked, which stipulate that sanitation workers in Sindh must be treated equally.
According to Sara Malkani, the attorney for the petitioners, sanitation workers are entitled to minimum wage regardless of whether they are hired directly by the SSWMB, a local government department, or contractors. She also asked the SHC to instruct the government to compensate the sanitation workers who were denied minimum wages since the beginning.
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