Industrial workers under the leadership of the Centre for Indian Trade Unions took out a rally from Autonagar Gate and later laid siege to the office of Deputy Labour Commissioner in Patamata on Friday in support of their demand for payment of minimum wages among other things. Scores of workers from different industries and CITU leaders closed the doors of the DLC office and went on with their protest programme in the morning.

They submitted a memorandum to Assistant Labour Commissioner K. Vishwanadham, who promised them to take corrective measures with the help of the CITU and such associations. They also submitted memorandums to the district Collector and the ESI authorities. Addressing the workers on the occasion, CITU district general secretary D.V. Krishna warned the authorities that they would go on a district-wide strike in all industries if the administration did not meet their demands within a month's time.

Survey

The CITU leaders conducted a survey a month ago in which they identified various problems being faced by the industrial workers due to non payment of minimum wages and absence of basic amenities.

The leaders deplored that women and contract workers were being paid very nominal wages without ensuring safety for them at the workplace.

They charged the labour department of not conducting regular visits to the industries as part of its mandate to ensure proper facilities and amenities to ensure safety to the workers.

The speakers criticised that the ESI facility was not being extended to many workers and many industries were not implementing this.

There were no proper facilities at the ESI dispensary.

They lamented that many workers were made to work for nine to 14 hours per day as against the rule of eight hours and overtime was not being paid as per the rules.

What was worse was that some industries were forcing the workers to do overtime conditionally, the leaders said.