JAC to lead stir from November 1 to press for long-pending charter of demands
Andhra Pradesh Beedi Workers' Union affiliated to Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) has said that the beedi workers belonging to 42 trade unions under the banner of Beedi Workers JAC will go on indefinite strike from November 1 to press for their long pending charter of demands.
At a press conference here on Sunday, the union honorary president D.V. Krishna said the JAC for the first time had given strike notice on January 18 and second time on October 1 making it clear to managements of beedi manufacturing units that the workers would strike the work indefinitely if they failed to solve the demands by the end of this month.
There were about 7 lakh beedi workers in the State and 2.50 lakh in the district. Of them, 95 per cent were women and belonging to lower castes and oppressed sections. Among all the work force in the industrial sector beedi workers were the most backward as their wages were lowest, he said.
The IFTU leader said statutory minimum wages were not being implemented for the beedi workers and when compared to agricultural workers who were getting Rs.200 to Rs.300 per day, beedi workers were not getting even Rs.80. The Government too was discriminatory against the beedi workers and industry, he said.
The union working president V. Krishna said the workers demanded that at least Rs.120 be paid to each worker for each 1,000 beedies as against Rs.80 being offered now which was the lowest. Moreover, since low-quality tendu leaf and tobacco were supplied, beedi workers were subjected to pay for any damages in the beedi manufacturing, he pointed out.
The other demands included increase of wages at least by 65 per cent on existing wage to beedi packers, monthly wages to clerks, sorters, tri-fillers gampawalas to be increased to Rs. 5,000, implementation of PF to all non-PF workers, supply of quality tendu leaf and 12-week maternity benefit to women workers.