The Karnataka State Unorganised Workers’ Federation has demanded a 40 per cent hike in the minimum wages for unorganised workers in the light of escalation in the cost of living, particularly house rents.

Speaking at a press conference here on Monday, K.S. Melukote, president of the federation, said the most modest of accommodations close to industrial areas cost above Rs. 3,000 in a city like Bangalore.

Rent control mechanism

“About half of a worker’s earnings go towards house rent alone,” said Mr. Melukote, demanding that a House Rent Allowance of Rs. 3,000 be fixed for unorganised workers. He pointed out that rent control mechanism, that existed earlier, had been done away with, resulting in unbridled escalation in rents.

Teachers’ condition

Mr. Melukote pointed out that even contract teachers in private schools and colleges faced a similar situation as they were paid low wages. They faced job uncertainty too.

Speaking about living conditions around industrial areas, he said workers often lived in unsanitary conditions without proper toilets and clean drinking water.

“The saline content in groundwater in most of these areas is high,” he said, demanding supply of Cauvery water to areas such as Peenya, Whitefield, K.R. Puram, Hebbagodi and Mysore Road.

The federation also expressed concern over the rampant contractualisation and outsourcing of work.

Mr. Melukote said that these forms of employment had remained outside the ambit of rigorous government regulation, even as government departments themselves too were resorting to them.

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