But for the past five months, Rafi says he has been unable to send any money back home, because the private waste-management company for which he works, RAMCO, violated his work contract by effectively slashing his wages from $300 a month to just over $100. KEEP READING Google employees form union in rare move for a US tech giant How much do people actually care about health workers? Malaysia’s COVID-hit Top Glove says will not re whistleblowers Mexico is increasing its minimum wage by 15% starting Jan “It’s a very big problem, I cant send my baby to school,” said Rafi, who asked Al Jazeera to refer to him by a pseudonym because he fears retribution. Rafi is not alone in his hardships, or his anger. Faced with a similarly untenable position, some 400 RAMCO employees – mostly from Bangladesh and India – took the unprecedented decision last month to walk of the job until the company pays them what they are owed. Though initially overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, the labour strike seeped into the headlines on May 12 when employees blocked roads outside RAMCO’s main housing and storage site on the outskirts of Beirut and prevented garbage trucks from leaving. Riot police were called in. Videos and images that strikers shot at the scene and shared with Al Jazeera showed security forces deploying tear gas and beating strikers – a small contingent of whom vandalised company property. Some of the images showed cuts to workers’ arms and hands. One showed a man with severe bruises to his face. An employee was arrested during the incident and remains in custody. While some of the strikers have crossed the picket line and returned to work since the strike was called on April 3, at least 250 are standing their ground and refusing to go b k th j b til th i d d t

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