The International Alliance of Waste Pickers is a union of waste picker organizations representing more than 460,000 workers across 34 countries
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Dear sisters and brothers of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (Globalrec). It is a real pleasure to address a short message to salute and congratulate you on the launch of your Constitution. My name is Daria Cibrario, and I’m in charge of Local and Regional Government Service Workers at Public Services International (PSI), which is the global trade union Federation representing workers in public services worldwide, including in municipal waste collection, disposal and all ancillary and related services.

Our workers, like many of the informal waste pickers that you represent, provide life-saving and essential services to our cities, rural communities, intermediary towns and small urban centers. And therefore, all together, we provide a key service, which is absolutely essential to preserve public health, to preserve the environment and to make sure that people live in dignity. But we know all too well that also formal waste collectors,, those we represent, often do not live in dignity and do not have decent working conditions that they should be entitled to as human beings. Because decent work is not a luxury. It is a human right. And this is why, together, unions representing workers in local public services, but also informal workers organization must and shall stay together. United, reclaiming decent working conditions for waste service workers across all categories, be them formalized in a public service, informal or in the private sector.

However, dear comrades, sisters and brothers, we also must recognize what we need. Collectively to transform the waste services that exist today in many countries. Such services are mismanaged in an inhuman way and the working conditions and the living conditions of not only many of the informal workers but also some of who we consider or are considered by definition as formal, but still live and work in very indecent conditions, sometimes with extremely precarious contracts. The lack of personal protective equipment, lack of social security, lack of pension and access to health and other life-saving services are unacceptable. This is why together we must continue to stand united. Now that you’re going to establish a a new form of your International Organization, even more.

We need to unite our strengths and our forces to bring progressive substantial change so that not only local authorities but also the private sector can no longer thrive on the cheap labor and exploitative working conditions that all workers across different status endure and suffer in a majority of countries worldwide. With that, I hope we can continue our dialogue, both at global but also at a regional and local level, and actually deepen and widen it, because there’s a lot of work to do. We should not go solo on this, we need to re-strategize together and work in a consistent, and united manner, so that we can reclaim decent working conditions for all workers. Thank you very much, and again, congratulations on the launch of your Constitution.