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Contract workers of cement factories want their demands fulfilled

Staff Correspondent
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Managements accused of adopting anti-labour policies and exploiting workers

Up in arms:Contract workers of Rajashree and Vasavadatta cement factories have arrived in Bellary from Gulbarga. They plan to stage a dharna outside the Regional Labour Commissioner’s office if their demands are not met.
Up in arms:Contract workers of Rajashree and Vasavadatta cement factories have arrived in Bellary from Gulbarga. They plan to stage a dharna outside the Regional Labour Commissioner’s office if their demands are not met.

Contract workers of Rajashree and Vasavadatta cement factories, owned by Aditya Birla group and B.K. Birla group respectively, in Gulbarga district have accused the managements of adopting anti-labour policies and exploiting workers.

‘Meagre wages’

Chandrashekar Hiremath, president of the Shrama Jeevigala Vedike which has taken up the cause of the workers, told presspersons here on Wednesday that workers were being paid only Rs. 160 to Rs. 180 a day.

“The workers — numbering about 6,000 — have been appointed on contract, in violation of the law that prohibits use of contract labour for a work of perennial nature. Both the factories have around 350 staff each on their rolls and have been exploiting contract labourers by paying them meagre wages while making huge profits,” he charged.

He accused the managements of working with politicians to ensure that workers’ demands such as implementation of recommendations of the wage board for cement industry, regularisation of services, and extension of retirement and medical benefits were not met.

Mr. Hiremath said Anjanappa, Regional Labour Commissioner (Central), Bellary, was not keen on protecting the interests of the working class.

“Mr. Anjanappa reportedly visited these factories a number of times and stayed in their guesthouse but did not take time off to talk to workers,” he charged.

To pressure the Regional Labour Commissioner, around 3,000 workershad arrived in Bellary, he said.

“We will wait for two days to see whether the Regional Labour Commissioner will initiate steps to fulfil our demands. If not, we will stage a dharna outside his office, followed by a fast,” he said.

The contract workers are camping at the district stadium here.

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