Despite the heavy downpour, hundreds of workers gathered on Friday to demand that the minimum wage for the unorganised sector be fixed at Rs. 10,000 per month, and implementation of welfare schemes for workers.

In front of the Deputy Commissioners’ Office, a sea of umbrellas stood defiant to the incessant rains, as workers from unorganised sectors, government health and midday meal workers, among others, assembled under the banner of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) as a part of the State-wide protest, demanded the implementation of their 22-point programme.

“A committee had been formed in 2009 to look into the economic status of workers of unorganised sector and to decide on a fair minimum wage. Four years on, and nothing has happened so far,” said B. Madhav, CPI(M) district secretary. He accused the Congress government of letting down workers who had “high hopes from the new regime”. “Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has had the time to go to China, but not give workers half an hour to hear out their issues,” said Mr. Madhav, adding that the State government was pursuing the “dangerous” policy of globalisation that threatened the jobs of lakhs of small retailers, and workers in the unorganised sector.

Apart from minimum wage, the protesters demanded the scrapping of the contract system “that deprives workers of job security”; strict implementation of Unorganised Workers Social Act (2008) that guarantees medical aids, pension, maternity leaves and interest-free loans, among others; houses or sites to workers.

More In: Mangaluru