Beedi workers stage stir, demand arrears, pension

Urging the government to increase minimum wages, payment of arrears and pension to the Beedi workers, South Canara Beedi Workers’ Federation (AITUC) staged a protest in front of Deputy Commissioner’s Office in Mangalore on Tuesday. 

Addressing the protest rally, who had gathred in large numbers, South Canara Beedi Workers’ Federation (AITUC) President P Sanjeeva said: “As many as three to four lakh beedi workers have stopped rolling beedies for the last few days. We have met Deputy Commissioner, beedi company owners as well as labour commission, but none of them are ready to solve the issue.”

“The beedi workers should be given minimum wage of Rs 116.20 for 1000 beedies rolled by them. Minimum wage was increased in 2006. Later, a decision was taken to increase the wages in 2010, but it was never implemented. Wage should be increased at least once in three years,” he said.

PF and pension

Sanjeeva said several beedi workers get pension of less than Rs 100 per month. Monthly pension should be increased to Rs 1,500. He also flayed the alleged regressive policy on scholarships for children of beedi workers. The Welfare Fund which was providing scholarship to children of beedi workers has stopped paying scholarships for the children studying from first to eighth standard.

The officials state that the government is providing free education to the children upto 14 years. Hence, there was no need for the scholarship, he said.

Sanjeeva urged the State government to distribute Rastriya Swastya Bheema Yojana (RSBY) cards to the beedi workers.

All India Cigar and Tobacco Federation Secretary Chandappa Anchan demanded the authorities to solve the problems of beedi contractors at the earliest.

South Canara Beedi Workers’ Federation (AITUC) Honorary President B Vishwanath Naik, General Secretary V S Berinja, Treasurer B Shekher and others were present.

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