3-onthejob-fragmented copy

Workers are fragmented and lack a unified voice for collective bargaining.

Workers are fragmented and often might be displaced:

Workers are too fragmented (2 per site / operation) to be able to unionise together, further some public toilet cleaners are displaced often and unable to establish a stronghold.

Even where workers exist in large numbers they still don’t have any collective bargaining power:

Drain cleaning, sewer cleaning involves multiple workers but the risk to unionise is too high-workers feel they are disposable and if they start protesting, they are bound to lose their jobs.

Workers also lack external support to help initiate collectivisation:

  • Workers are “invisible”- it is difficult to track workers without any proof of work and official records of these workers.

  • The bandwidth of Dalit national politics is focused on a different narrative: 30% of SC community are casual labourers, 30-40% in agriculture and caste-based unions1 tend to focus on issues of these workers; further this sub-caste of SWs is only 12-13%1 of all SCs pushing their issues further to the fringe.

We need to integrate sanitation workers in existing unions or help collectivize various workers under different types of work.

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: 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: Operating and maintaining school toilets on a daily basis

LocationSchools – rural and urban

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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