Staff Correspondent

The union has threatened to launch `satyagraha' from Monday

Several power looms have stopped operations since December 29 Workers demand higher wages per unit of saris produced

Belgaum: Over 2,000 workers of various power looms staged a demonstration at the Deputy Commissioner's office under the banner of Kayakajeevi Coolie Nekarara Sangha here on Tuesday and presented a memorandum to the Government threatening to stage "satyagraha" from Monday if their demands are not met by Sunday.

Sangha president Bhimmanna and social worker Dilip Kamat led the demonstration. The demonstration was prompted by the alleged failure of the district administration to look into their demands which have been pending for three years.

Although the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made a common cause to get special package for the owners of power looms, the workers were left in the lurch. The owners, under the aegis of Belgaum Nekarara Vedike, have stopped the operations denying work and wages to workers since December 29. It may be recalled here that some of the workers had gone on strike last month demanding better wages, which the owners had reduced three years ago. The workers are demanding the different in wages and minimum rate for their work in the light of the State Government announcing special package and supplying subsidised power to the power looms last year. But the managements have refused to pass on the benefits of the special package to the workers.

According to the sangha, the vedike had agreed to concede some of their demands, only to change their stand later.

The sangha is demanding minimum wages or minimum price for production of saris of different varieties. They are demanding Rs. 12 per silk sari, Rs. 12 for chain jakard and running bail, Rs. 9 for gadwal butta, Rs. 8 for butta, Rs. 7 for plain gadwal butta and Rs. 5 for plain sari. The workers want appointment letters and attendance registers.