Though Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has pinned high hopes in the newly appointed Chairman of the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) Malik Amjad Ali Noon, the financial position of the company poses a big challenge to the new team.
On the first day in office, the chairman and CEO of the company has to face agitating workers demanding the release of their arrears. The LWMC contractors on the other hand also complained about delays in payment of their invoices.
Dozens of the LWMC workers once again staged a protest demonstration by blocking Main Ferozepur Road at Kalma Chowk in favour of their demands. A couple of weeks ago, they staged a similar demonstration in front of the company’s head office at Shaheen Complex.
They shouted slogans against the senior management of the company and the government and demanded the immediate release of their outstanding dues.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, a sanitary worker on condition of anonymity highlighted that the company was not making payment of their Eid bonus despite repeated requests. “We worked tirelessly during Eid holidays to keep the metropolis clean. Several months have passed since Eid holidays but the management is still telling us that our attendance records are incomplete which delayed our bonus payments. Is this our responsibility to compile attendance records and process payments?” he questioned.
Another worker lamented ad-hocism in the LWMC and its contractors.
He pointed out that it has become a culture of the company to not pay attention to the demands of the peaceful workers.
“It has happened dozens of times in the past too that workers have to take to the streets to get their legitimate demands approved. In most instances, workers had to stage protests over non-payment of their salaries and dues,” he maintained.
Similar remarks were made by several other protestors. They also criticised the government for not reining in inflation and complained about the unsympathetic attitude of the senior management of the company. In early September, dozens of terminated workers of the LWMC deployed at the Lahore Metro Bus service staged a similar protest demonstration in front of the company’s head office over non-payment of their salaries. They also demanded the immediate release of their outstanding dues and reinstatement.
LWMC spokesperson Khawar Jamil told The Express Tribune that Eid bonuses of some 300 employees deployed in Faisal Town, Garden Town and Gulberg areas were pending owing to some administrative reasons. The management is negotiating with annoyed employees and soon their reservations will be addressed.
Another official of the company indicated that all these workers belong to a Turkish contractor, ÖZPAK Pakistan. Their three-day Eid bonus payments have been delayed owing to some issues with their attendance records.
Earlier, their payments were delayed owing to some mismanagement at the contractor’s part, and later senior management of the company was reshuffled. Now the new chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) have been appointed and the company has advertised for filling other vacant positions. As soon as these issues are resolved the new management would fix all such problems, the official maintained.
Punjab chief minister has already extended the government’s all-out support to the new LWMC chairman and expressed his hope that his experience would be useful in maintaining the cleanliness of the city.
“I am sanguine that you will develop an efficient team and ensure cleanliness arrangements by arranging the best service delivery as per public expectations,” the chief minister added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2020.