Shibu Baby John, who will take charge as Labour Minister on Monday, deprecated the strike called by the joint action council of transport workers on Friday in protest against the hike in petrol price.

Addressing a press conference here, the Minister said that the United Democratic Front government had forgone an annual revenue of Rs.130 crore to bring down the petrol price in the State. However, the protestors chose to paralyse the State within 48 hours of the new government assuming office, without even allowing the government the customary ‘honeymoon.'

Mr. John said that the Opposition was using the workers as a political tool.

He said that strikes like these would only help deepen public ire against workers. Kerala still had a bad reputation in industrial circles because of certain practices in the labour sector. These needed to be corrected.

The Minister said that collection of ‘nookkukooli' by headload workers was extortion. It would not benefit the workers in the long run.

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