Hundreds of Christian and Hindu garbage collectors called on the Indian government to be readmitted to work after being fired in November.
A report on AsiaNews said the workers were not paid their salary since Christmas Eve, with many forced to take out loans at very high interest rates.
The report said the salary paid by the government was 25,000 rupees (85 euros) for each operator, but the workers were only paid 18,000 (60 euros), with the rest of the amount either deducted for holidays.
The workers were fired without prior notification after working at a facility for at least 17 years. Most of the workers are Christians who have been forced to do day jobs.
Imran Bhatti, head of the union and social activist, interviewed said many couples worked as garbage collectors. “One can easily imagine the economic situation of these families. How can they pay the rent, the bills and their children’s school fees?” he said.
“The government is solely responsible for any misfortune on these poor families,” said Bhatti.
“We had nothing to spend on our children at Christmas and then the situation only got worse,” AsiaNews quoted Arif Masih, a Christian garbage collector.
“We look around for help, ask for food rations for our children, and when we can’t find support anywhere, we have to ask for loans from intermediaries,” he said.
“I am sending my children to school so they can lead a better life than ours, but since December we have not been able to pay the school fees,” said Masih.
“What will be the future of our children if they do not receive an adequate education. The government should understand our suffering and give us back our jobs,” he said.