Trade unions are exploiting the migrant labour force in the State, said Thampan Thomas, president, Hind Mazdoor Sabha.

Addressing a seminar on “Problems of migrant labour in construction and domestic sector,” organised by the Chavara Cultural Centre as part of Onam celebrations with the migrant labour force, Mr. Thomas said that there are many trade union leaders and groups extracting nokku kooli (extortion of money by some organised trade unions) and there are quite a few construction sites that do not pay the minimum wages to the workforce.

Meena Kumari, assistant professor, Law College, Thiruvananthapuram, said that most of the migrant labour force in the State have not been given identity cards yet. A resolution passed at the meeting was that the government needs to take the initiative to intervene in protecting the rights of the labour force.

Father Roby Kannanchira, director of the Chavara Centre, said the issue of the migrant people in the State is likely to become a major problem if not handled properly.

In many areas drug abuse by the migrant workforce has been identified by social workers, he said. Sister Merin, CMC and Sister Rosly John, FCC, working amongst the migrant force, have come across a number of problems, including the poor health status of the workers.

There are construction sites that are unhygienic leading to spread of diseases and there are also workers who bring in diseases from other States.

The meeting was earlier inaugurated by a migrant worker from Orissa, Sugreev Uthansingh. All the participants took part in the Onam feast and the various cultural programmes related to Onam.

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