Members of the South Canara Beedi Workers’ Federation staged a protest here on Wednesday demanding that beedi workers, most of whom are women who work from the house, be given six days of work in a week.
The Federation, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, alleged that beedi companies were allotting work to the workers only twice or thrice a week, and this stark reduction came after a series of protests held in June demanding a rise in the minimum wage.
“Because of the reduction in work, thousands of beedi workers are suffering and find it difficult to make ends meet as prices of essential commodities keep increasing,” B. Madhava, Communist Party of India (Marxist) district secretary, told the gathering assembled in front of the Assistant Labour Commissioner’s office here.
He demanded that beedi workers should be given a minimum of six days of work in a week, while compensating the workers for the days that the company did not hand out work.
The federation said that after the protests in June, the beedi workers had agreed in July to these demands within 15 days. However, said a release, the workers were forced to take to the streets after their promises were not met.