Udupi, August 19, 2018: The members of district Beedi Workers’ Federation, under the aegis of CITU, staged a protest demanding minimum wages, Provident Fund facility and other benefits, in front of DC’s office in Manipal on Saturday.
Hundreds of Beedi workers took out a protest rally from Tiger Circle to the DC office in Manipal against the government’s negligence, and passive attitude of Beedi company owners.
The protesters demanded a wage of Rs 350 for rolling 1,000 Beedis and urged the government to provide BPL cards and free housing for Beedi workers.
Udupi district Beedi Workers’ Federation president Mahabala Vadera said that the Central government has been planning to completely ban tobacco products by 2020. If this plan is realised, the Beedi industry will be completely shut down. Hence, it is necessary that the government provides an alternate arrangement for the Beedi workers, who are solely dependent on working in Beedi factory. Beedi industry should not be closed without providing proper jobs to Beedi workers, he said.
He expressed concern that around three crore people throughout the country involved in the tobacco industry, would lose their jobs. “These workers are facing several hardships and also do not have proper job security. All these people will lose their jobs if tobacco is banned totally,” he said.
Mahabala further pointed out that the Beedi companies have not been provided with minimum wages to Beedi workers despite the state government orders. The arrears have to be paid with effect from April 1, he said and added that the welfare schemes are not made accessible to Beedi workers even though the workers have been contributing to the Provident Fund.
CITU leader Vishwanath Rai, Federation Treasurer K Lakshman, Secretary Umesh Kundar, members Sanjiva, Sunita Shetty, Nalini, Kaviraj and Balkish Banu took part in the protest among others.