After three days of overnight protest at the Freedom Park here, midday meal workers across the State have decided to strike work from Thursday.

The protest has brought over 5,000 workers from across the State to the city.

A section of workers had stayed behind so that the midday meal programme was not disrupted in schools. But, given that the ongoing protest here has not had the desired impact, the workers have decided to launch “total strike”, said Karnataka Rajya Akshara Dasoha Naukarara Sangha State president S. Varalakshmi. She said the midday meal programme was likely to come to a complete halt in thousands of schools across the State.

Workers are demanding an increase in wages, called ‘honorarium’, from the existing Rs. 1,000 for assistant cooks and Rs. 1,100 for head cooks to Rs. 3,000 a month. Sangha members said it was appalling that apart from a “token visit” by the Women and Child Development Minister, no proper action had been taken. Instead, district officials were “exerting pressure” on workers to turn up to work and threatening to hire replacements.

Wide support

On Wednesday, several organisations visited Freedom Park to express solidarity with the protesting workers. Karnataka High School Teachers’ Association president Manjunath visited the protest venue and addressed the workers, expressing support.

In a press statement, the State-level School Development and Monitoring Committee Coordination Forum expressed support for the agitating workers.

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