'Fix minimum wage for unorganised workers at `10,000, implement schemes'

Hundreds of unorganised workers, beedi workers, anganawadi workers, health workers gathered in front of the deputy commissioner’s office, daring the heavy rains on Friday, and staged a protest demanding the government to fix minimum wage for unorganised sector workers at Rs 10,000 and implement welfare schemes for the workers.

The protest was organised by Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) as a part of the state-wide protest, demanding the government to implement the 22-point programme.

Addressing the protesters, CPI(M) District Secretary B Madhav said that the Central government’s policies of liberalisation which support foreign direct investment would pose threat to lakhs of small retailers and unorganised sector workers.

”We had a hope that new Chief Minister Siddharamaiah would address the problems faced by labour class. But, the CM who had time to go for foreign tour (referring to his China visit), has no interest to listen to our grievances. The government has cheated the labour class,” he complained.

Madhav also pointed at the inefficiency shown by the government towards fixing minimum wage to the labour class. “Though a committee was formed in 2009 to study the economic status of unorganised class workers and recommend to fix a minimum wage for these workers, no development has taken up in this regard,” he said.

Some of the other demands placed forth by the protesters were, scrapping of contract system, guarantee maternity leave, pension to workers, to fix a minimum wage of Rs 200 for 1,000 rolled beedis to beedi workers, fix a minimum wage of Rs 15,000 to anganawadi workers, provide them retirement, mutual fund, medical benefits etc.

The protesters submitted a memorandum to Assistant Labour Commissioner D G Nagesh. The officer assured them of looking into their demands. Earlier, protesters staged a rally from Jyothi to State Bank.

Protest in Udupi

The Udupi district unit of CITU too staged a protest rally by gheraoing the DC office demanding the government to address the long pending grievances of the labour class.

Udupi district CITU President K Shankar alleged the Congress government that it has drastically failed to address the grievances of the labour class at least once in its four months of tenure. The social welfare board for unorganised sector workers is already set up, however the registration of the members is not yet taken up. There are unnecessary hassles in delivering the benefits to the labour class, and the welfare board too is not ensured with sufficient funds.

Handing over the memorandum to DC Dr M T Reju, CITU demanded that the grievances should be met at the earliest by the government. The memorandum read that the government should offer 14 grocery items through public distribution system on the lines of Kerala.

Nearly 35 kilograms of rice or any other cereals should be given at Rs one per kg. Free housing facilities should be provided to the labour class. Minimum wages, PF and old age pension should be ensured to the private bus workers, the memorandum said.

A protest rally was carried out from Tiger Circle to the DC office.

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