The company reduced the volume of work by 32 per cent in past year

The South Kanara-Udupi District Beedi Contractors Union, affiliated to the Hindustan Mazdoor Sangha (HMS), has decided to hold a protest in front of Bharath Beedi Works Ltd., if the organisation’s demand is not met, said Working president of the Union Mohammed Raffi.

Speaking at a press meet in the city recently, he said the company had reduced the volume of work given to workers by 32 per cent in the last one year. The company further reduced the quantum of work by 10 per cent recently, a step which has affected the beedi contractors and the beedi workers. He said the company should rollback the 10 per cent reduction in work or face protest by the Union.

Mr. Raffi said the company told workers that the quality of the beedis rolled was not good. However, the quality of the beedi depends on the quality of the leaf, tobacco and string provided by the company. He said, “The quality of beedis made in our districts is better than theirs. “Old and new leaves are different (in quality). Use old leaves, they say.”

On the other hand, the company had increased the quantum of work given to its workers in Kerala and had given them new contracts, Mr. Raffi said. Here, however, it has set up a taskforce to check the quality of the beedis. “There is a conspiracy against the beedi industry of this district,” he said.

The companies export beedis to Dubai, Muscat, USA and Afghanistan and were minting money while the workers in the beedi industry were struggling, he alleged.

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