Christian Sanitary Workers In Faisalabad Unpaid On Christmas

FWMC owed two months' salary to its Christian sanitation workers but released payments for only one month despite promises to clear all dues ahead of Christmas

Christian Sanitary Workers In Faisalabad Unpaid On Christmas

Christian sanitary workers in Faisalabad will spend their Christmas on a very tight budget after the district administration failed to clear all their dues and release salaries before the festive season.

The Faisalabad Waste Management Company (FWMC) employs some 3,600 Christians. Usually, Christians are paid their salary in advance for Christmas (just like Muslims are paid ahead of Eid). But before December began, the workers were already in a deficit, awaiting salaries for two months. 

When their salaries were not released, the Christian sanitation workers staged a protest and announced a strike.

In response, the FWMC management assured the staff that their salaries would be fully released before Christmas. 

Despite that pledge, salaries for only a month were released.

As a result, the Labour and Staff Union President Abrar Sahoutara and National Minorities Alliance Chairperson Lala Robin Daniel have urged local philanthropists to provide rations to impoverished Christians on Christmas.

The sanitation workers waited for the remainder of their salaries on the last banking day before Christmas but to little avail.

It is pertinent to note here that earlier in August, the Christian community residing in the Jaranwala neighbourhood of Faisalabad, most of whom are sanitary workers contracted either privately or with the FWMC, were forced out, and some 100 homes were torched while their Churches were desecrated after mobs ransacked their neighbourhood over alleged blasphemy allegations.

Many of those who saw their homes torched lost their entire life savings.

One Christian lamented the callousness of the state.

"How can a state let its humble inhabitants, many of whom are our fellow Christians, endure such hardship?" wrote Mary James Gill on the social media platform 'X'.

"Imagine, for a moment, the disillusionment in the innocent eyes of their children, who eagerly await Christmas all year long. The state's indifference echoes in their disappointed sighs and broken dreams."

She added that the provincial government only released a month's pay while salaries for another month remain pending.

Meanwhile, in Nankana Sahib, near Lahore, Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Muhammad Arshad distributed aid cheques to 120 impoverished and deserving Christians. The cheques, worth Rs10,000 each, were distributed on behalf of the provincial government.