Hamali workers laid siege to the Labour Department building here on Saturday, demanding minimum wages and social security benefits.
The members of the Karnataka State Loading and Unloading Workers’ Union and Karnataka Shramika Shakthi took out a procession to the Labour Department and shouted slogans criticising the government’s attitude towards them.
Thousands of hamali workers were on contract over the past eight years. However, the department had not fixed minimum wages for them as per International Labour Organisation rules. For example, at least 1,000 people were engaged in loading and unloading works in Mandya. They were getting a meagre salary of Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 6,000, union leader Varadha Rajendra said.
The protesters also demanded facilities such as health insurance, medical and education benefits, and payment of compensation upon death or accidents.
Underlining the need to provide social security for the unorganised sector, C. Lakshman, an activist, said two loaders met accidental deaths in Mandya in recent months.
The protesters submitted a memorandum to the district labour officer Thammanna.