The cleaning workers of the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima (MML) are not having a good time. Last 28 of July In the morning they were repressed by the National Police of Peru (PNP) with tanks and water jets, in their attempt to reach the Government Palace to make visible their rejection of the policy of the capital city to outsource the service they provide again.
But, what would this tender entail on these public servants that leads them to confront even against the forces of order? The Republic spoke with the president of the Union of Workers of the Innova Innova Environmental Company (SITOBUR), Isabel Cortez, to know the reason for her claim.
YOU CAN SEE: Police throw water at cleaning workers protesting towards the Government Palace
The also former candidate for the Congress of the Republic pointed out that the situation her union is experiencing is “critical” because she is afraid that the new company designated for public cleaning leave more than 500 employees unemployed, of which several are elderly people who have dedicated many years of their lives to MML.
“In the process, a clause is not incorporated that guarantees the permanence of workers or their rights. We are currently 800 public cleaning workers, of whom 296 are protected by a judgment of the Lima Court, but another 504 are not. Our fight is for them, “he said.
The appointment of the new cleaning company is an issue that the MML must agree on in the Municipal Council, the same one that should have been finalized on July 29. However, due to the situation and the protests, Isabel Cortez confirmed that the decision was postponed once again, as it has been for more than a month.
“It was originally scheduled for June 26, but following the protests it was rescheduled for July 14. We continued the fight and they rescheduled it for July 29 (…). Apparently it has been postponed again despite the fact that the Council meeting was exclusively to deal with public cleaning, “he said.
YOU CAN SEE: At least 40 public cleaning workers were detained during peaceful protest
Despite the refusal of the Lima Municipality to negotiate with them, as Cortez assures, affirmed that the workers will continue on the streets until the bid is annulled and that all go to the mayor’s sheet. “This public contest is illegal and I am not saying it, but the Judiciary, the Constitutional Court and the Organic Law of Municipalities, which say that the public cleaning service should not be outsourced, as it is an essential service of the same. The Municipality is doing this ‘on horseback’, we are human beings not disposable objects“He sentenced.
How is cleaning in the middle of a pandemic?
But that is not the only concern of Limas cleaning workers. The risk of becoming infected with the new coronavirus is another major problem in tow that, in the opinion of Cortez, the capital city does not help to solve.
”From the MML we do not receive any thanks. On the part of the concessionaire, we were provided with the basic implements such as the mask, a cleaning kit and a disinfection at the end of each day, but they have not given us a face protector, “he explained.
YOU CAN SEE: Lima Municipality on repression against cleaning workers: It is false that Jorge Munoz ordered it
He also says that, when the pandemic began, they received a periodic test to discard COVID-19, but as the state of emergency was extended, it became longer and more to the point of being unpredictable. “It started every 20 days, then a month and a half and now we don’t know when the next test will be.”
The Municipality of Lima responds
The Republic spoke with the City Services Manager of the Municipality of Lima, Ximena Giraldo, to find out her position regarding the claims of the cleaning workers.
In principle, regarding the public tender, the official stated that it is necessary because the current contract (which expired in 2015) is still in force due to an addendum that was signed in the previous administration where it is specified that “the concession ended after 120 days or when the MML have a new winner of the service ”. “We are hiring a service to settle the concession and improve service quality, we must look for ways to start a new stage in the modernization of waste in the city and we are doing it under the law,” he said.
In relation to the incorporation of the entire workers, Giraldo stated that he met with SITOBUR And he told them that the municipality cannot intervene by adding a labor clause to the tender or pressuring the next company to hire 100% of the workers of the current concessionaire, “because it would be irregular.” However, he stated that the Municipality of Lima will commit to establishing a contact between the mayor’s union and the winning company.
Finally, the municipal manager assured that the process is taking place “with all the transparency of the case” and under the OSCE procedure.
This is the situation of cleaning workers, people who are sometimes lost in the urban landscape of the capital but whose importance is greater than it may seem at first glance.