Workers feel invisible, often operate without formal contracts, and are not aware of terms of employment.

Lack proof of work:

Workers have no proof of work, even though they have been doing their jobs for several years – this leads to the “invisibilisation” of workers.

“The workers do not have any identity card. This means they cannot access any entitlement or medical facility. This directly affects their identity as an individual…It means they cannot form associations or join any workers union”

Unaware of their exact payments:

Workers have a limited view of the exact payment due since they do not receive salary slips. They are even unaware of their Provident Fund (P.F.) account details; if they ask for their salaries, they are threatened to be laid-off.

  • This is also evidenced in the documentary Kakkoos, where sanitation workers highlight that they are unaware of their exact salary and suspect the P.F. amount is being taken by the contractor.

We need to provide workers with a sense of identity through identity cards, salary slips, job IDs; and make them aware of their rights.

This insight applies to 6 types of unsafe sanitation work:

What this entails: Unblocking and cleaning sewer and wastewater drains

Frequency: Complaint-based, seasonal (rainy season) and occasionally for preventive maintenance

Location: Urban areas

What this entails: Emptying, collection and transport of human waste from septic tanks on an on-demand basis

Frequency: De-sludging frequency varies greatly, ranging from 6 months to 10-15 years

LocationPrimarily urban, mostly unplanned localities

What this entails: Cleaning faecal matter from railway tracks and platforms,railway toilets and platform toilets

Frequency: several times a day

Location: Rail network and railway stations

What this entails: Maintaining and operating sewage and faecal sludge treatment plants on a daily basis

LocationUrban, across the ~527 STPs/FSTPs in India

What this entails: Maintaining public/community toilets (often insanitary) on a daily basis

Location: Rural and urban CTCs, mostly in slums; public convenience shelters

What this entails: Cleaning open drains and road sweeping, often encountering fecal matter due to open defecation and insanitary latrines connected to drains

LocationUrban – drains alongside roads

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