Safai Karmacharis, the waste collectors of Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh went on a strike in front of Collectorate office for promotion and pay hike. The Safaikarmacharis of the district have been working for the municipality since more than 15 years but have received only a nominal salary of Rs. 3000-3,500 throughout their careers spanning at least 15 years. Their collective strike in front of the Collectorate has led to a raise of Rs. 500 a month. However, such salaries are insufficient for the workers to continue working.
The Safaikarmacharis in India are contractual labour who clean the streets, sewers and public toilets of India. While the job description does not mention it, the job is caste-based, with Valmikis bring considered the ‘lowest of the castes’ taking up the jobs. While discrimination and untouchability are prohibited under Article 17 of the Indian Constitution, the Indian population as a whole still practices discrimination towards the community. The Valmikis often have no other choice but to take up work as a SafaiKarmachari because they are not offered opportunities in other professions. This gives their employers an upper hand in deciding their pay too
This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Arti Bai.
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