By Atiaf Zaid Alwazir
On June 24, 2013, the Workers and Housing Union held a protest in front of President Hadi’s house demanding full-time employment contracts for garbage workers. Garbage collectors have an exceptional employment status: they report to state officials within the Office of Sanitation and Labor, but they have neither employment contracts nor monthly salaries. Instead, they work through daily contracts, which allows the state to avoid paying them employee benefits.
The June protest was not the first of its kind. Garbage collectors have gone on numerous protests and at least six strikes since 1993 to demand higher wages and better work environment. On April 12, 2012 Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Bassendwa passed decree number 46 that granted fulltime employment rights, health benefits, and vacation days to garbage collectors. The decree was a positive step, however, as with many laws in Yemen, neither the previous nor the new laws have been implemented.
Many garbage collectors complain today that they are still not officially employed and are only contracted to work receiving between $3.80 to $4 per day. They work 360 days a year, with no holidays, no social or medical insurance, and the years of work do not count towards promotion.
Despite the gloomy situation, they remain hopeful that they will reach their goals and dreams. “I will do everything I can to grow a field in the desert,” said Haidar Swaid, Member of the Garbage Collectors Syndicate.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect La Voix du Yémen’s editorial policy.Français
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