Midday meal workers have threatened to launch an indefinite strike in Bangalore from December 2, demanding, among other benefits, minimum salary of Rs. 3,000.

They are opposed to any move to privatise the midday meal programme, State general secretary of the Karnataka State Akshara Dasoha Naukarara Sangha Malini Mestha has said.

Rs. 38 a day

She told presspersons here on Tuesday that more than 1 lakh women work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to feed 69 lakh children across the Stare under the programme. They get paid only Rs. 38 a day, she said, and claimed that under no other government project workers get paid such meagre wages. The government had neither considered midday meal workers as labourers nor as employees, and they had been fighting for the last 11 years for better wages, Ms. Mestha said.

She said they would launch their strike on December 2 and make alternative arrangements for three days. If the government does not heed their demands, the workers would stop cooking food from December 5, she said. Over 15,000 workers would participate in the dharna in Bangalore, she added.

District secretary of the sangha C. Mallamma and secretary of the district committee of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions N.K. Subramanya were present.

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