The members of the Udupi District Beedi Workers Union, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), staged a dharna in front of the taluk office here on Tuesday demanding better facilities for beedi workers.
Addressing the protestors, Dogu Suvarna, treasurer of the union, said that beedi workers had to undergo a lot of hardship due to the low wages paid to them. It was essential that the government announced a minimum wage for beedi workers throughout the country. Provident Fund, pension, welfare schemes, bonus and other facilities should be made available to beedi workers.
Beedi workers, throughout the country, should be given a minimum wage of Rs. 200 for rolling 1,000 beedies. The wage provided to the workers should be linked to the consumer price index. All beedi workers should be given identity cards, he said.
The Government should provide scholarship to children of beedi workers till class 8. The scholarships given to these students should be increased whenever there was an increase in educational fees.
The possession of Aadhaar card should not be made compulsory for getting benefits of welfare schemes. Retired beedi workers should be given a minimum pension of Rs. 1,000 per month. The families of all beedi workers should be considered as living below the poverty line.
All beedi workers should be given work for six days compulsorily. If the owners failed to do so, the workers should be given guaranteed wage as per government order. A welfare fund cess should be charged on every beedi produced.