Cleaners continue comprehensive strike for ‘all’ rights
In a Wednesday press conference at the Yemen’s Workers’ Union Building in Sana’a, the executive office said the cleaners’ rightful demands have not been met, though Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa had ordered in April that authorities concerned meet them.
The office said janitors still suffer from late wages and salaries and lack the necessary spare parts for their garbage-collecting vehicles. Their salaries also go through deductions and their damaged vehicles are not repaired, according to the statement.
Jabari Ahmed Darwish, secretary-general for the Cleaning Workers’ Syndicate, said, “The janitors are sick and tired of undelivered promises by the government, which has pledged many times to offer them permanent jobs.”
He said even though Basindwa has promised three months ago to meet their demands, nothing was achieved.
He said the cleaners’ syndicate tried contacting Basindwa several times in the past few days, but they received no effective response.
According to Darwish, the cleaners organized a sit-in protest in front of the cabinet on Tuesday, but no one has reacted well to their demands.
“We only want the government to give us all of our rights,” Darwish said. “We want travel allowances, free healthcare services, allowance for high costs and allowance for the hazardous environment we work in.
“While in the past we only called for making our jobs permanent, now we will not settle for anything but all of our demands being met, and we will not call off our strike and get back to work unless our demands have been met.”
Ayman Akaram Hasson, assistant secretary-general for the Cleaning Workers’ Syndicate, said, “The wrong policy is taken by the government, which does not take the cleaners’ demands seriously and does not implement Basindwa’s orders.”
Jabari Al-Jamal, a cleaner, said that cleaners’ salaries are the lowest in Yemen and that they suffer from discrimination, with people commonly looking down on them and their profession.
“Look at the cleaners in the neighboring states, their rights are delivered and their governments provide them with everything they need,” Al-Jamal said. “But in Yemen, nobody cares about the janitors, and the government shows no compassion for their pathetic conditions.”
He called on the prime minister, on the governor of Sana’a and on all the officials in the country to pay attention to and meet the cleaners’ demands, issue all their due salaries and treat them as other states treat cleaners.
Bushara al-Amari, a journalist and an advocate for cleaners’ rights, said some figures in the municipality corporation as well as in the Sapital Sana’a Office don’t want the janitors to receive improved rights.
“If the cleaners are offered permanent jobs, then the corruption in the municipality corporation would be eradicated, and this is something that the corrupt figures work hard to ensure does not happen,” Al-Amari said.
The cleaners have gone on several strikes this year, calling for their rights and demanding that they be offered permanent jobs. The last strike organized by the cleaners was in April, when Basindwa promised the cleaners that their demands would be met.