Cleaners Threaten to Resume Strike Countrywide

National Yemen

garbage piles up in the captial streets

By: NY Staff

The General Union of Workers and Municipalities threatened that cleaners will resume their comprehensive strike if their demands are not met. In a recent statement published by the union, the union reported that all workers around the country would continue to strike even beyond its deadline of next Thursday if no action is taken. The statement held the government responsible for any consequences of the strike.  Nearly 40,000 cleaners have been struggling for two years with the Ministry of Civil Affairs. They demand to be officially hired and to be provided by rights stated by the law of labor. The continued ignorance of the authorities forced the cleaners to conduct a number of strikes – the strongest continuing for ten days.  The cleaners recently protested before the General Administration of Hygiene Affairs because of empty promises. During the protest they demanded the dismissal of a number of corrupt leaders in administration and were threatened in retaliation. The workers syndicate warned the government of any consequences as a result of the threats and ignoring the demands of the workers.  The main problems of cleaners is that even though they are government employees, they do not receive the same benefits as their government counterparts. As such, they believe that the government treats them as a sub-class within the government — despite the importance of their jobs to functioning of cities across Yemen.  It is well known that cleaners do not have any contracts with the government and are not provided by days off during official holidays. They year round, including pregnant women and they do not have health insurance though they work in an environment full of germs. They suffer financial and physical discrimination in addition to their longer hours of work and have to resort to child labor to make ends meet.  In this regard, Worker’s Syndicate Chief Mohammed Al-Marzooqi said that the government is moving to solve this problem through the prime minister’s decree on this subject. The decree appointed the Minister of Finance, the Secretary General of the Local Council and a representative from the syndicate to form a committee in charge of preparing a study about the general status of the cleaners.  According to Al-Marzooqi, the committee held a meeting earlier this month and stated they would begin to gradually correct the imbalances of the financial and administrative operations to fix the situation of the cleaners.  Al-Marzooqi stated that the committee issued a decree to stop spending money from unnecessary resources. He called upon the committee to quickly accomplish all of its duties and fixing the situations of the cleaners as they are employees of the government.  A continued strike by the workers threaten Sana’a with an potential health disaster due to the piles of garbage and the diseases they bring with it.