Amritsar, June 14
Textile artisans and labourers associated with various labour organisations today went on a three-day strike, demanding a hike in their wages.
Members of the Textile Mazdoor Ekta Union, All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) today staged a protest at Beri Gate Park. They were demanding an increase of 25 per cent in their wages. They also raised slogans against textile industrialists and government.
Amarjit Singh Asal, state secretary, AITUC, said, “The association of power-loom owners did not reciprocate their call to a hold meeting to discuss the hike in wages. So we have decided to hold a public protest. Unions issued a notice to power-loom industrial units to talk to us for the revision of wages of the labourers, who live and work in pathetic conditions. They preferred not to respond and therefore, two labour unions called for the strike.”
Amrik Singh, district president, CITU, said, “Labourers working in the power-loom sector even did not get their minimum wages fixed by the government. The labourers working in the textile units come under high-skilled category but their working conditions are deplorable.”
Charan Das, president, Textile Mazdoor Ekta Union and Brahamdev Sharma, general secretary, said there were around 500 power-loom units in which around 5,000 labourers were working. They said they were given wages on a production basis.
They added that labour laws were not implemented at all in this sector.
They get a minimal wage from Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 per month, which is insufficient to make both ends meet, they added. Both leaders said the new generation was reluctant to join the profession keeping in view appalling working condition of factories. They claimed that the workers were forced to work in a shift of 13 to 14 hours. It has been a tradition since 1950s with associations of the workers and power-loom owners to periodically hold a meeting to develop a consensus on quantum of hike. — TNS
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