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Workers protest against unsafe conditions at plate-making unit

Staff Correspondent
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25 workers have lost their fingers over the last three years

Workers of Verterra Dinnerware showing their injured fingers during a protest in Shimoga on Saturday.
Workers of Verterra Dinnerware showing their injured fingers during a protest in Shimoga on Saturday.

Many youths working at a factory which produces plates from areca leaves in the city have lost their fingers during the production process.

The workers hired by the Verterra Dinnerware, a Multi National Company, staged a protest in the city on Saturday under the aegis of Youth Congress blaming the unsafe working condition at the factory for the recurring accidents.

The protesters alleged that unrealistic production targets had put pressure on them. More than 25 workers have lost their fingers over the last three years. No safety measures are taken by the management to avert the accidents, they alleged.

The protesters demanded the Government to force the management to abide by safety norms. They demanded adequate compensation for the workers who lost their fingers during the production process.

District Labour Officer Vishwanath has informed that, the company is owned by Michael David Dwork, a citizen of United States of America and Syed Fateulla Ghouse, an Indian.

More than 100 workers are employed in the unit which was shifted from Gadikoppa to Honnali Road a year ago, he said. Meanwhile Member of Rajya Sabha Ayanur Manjunath visited the factory on Saturday along with the officials of Department of Labour.

Speaking on the occasion he said that, the management of the factory has failed to comply with laws related to labour welfare and industrial safety. The management has failed to intimate the authorities on shifting the unit from Gadikoppa to Honnali Road. False information has been provided to the authorities on the number of workers in the unit. Pay slip is not provided to the workers here, and minimum wage has been denied to them.

The management is also trying to shift the onus of treating the injured workers on Employees State Insurance Corporation, he alleged. The records on production shifts are not properly maintained by the management. Workers have complained that they were denied weekly offs also, he stated.

Proper compensation should be paid to the injured workers under Workmen Compensation Act. He asked the officials of the Department of Labour to ensure that workers who have raised their voice were not victimised by the management.

Mr. Manjunath also expressed displeasure against the style of functioning of the officials of the labour department. .

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