Even as the State government is busy preparing to launch the Rs 1/kg rice scheme, the Karnataka Food and Civil Supply Corporation Loading and Unloading Labourers Union has demanded for basic, statutory labour benefits for nearly 1,500 workers.
Making these demands at a press conference here on Friday, Union president G R Shivashankar said all workers would assemble in the city on July 15 for a Vidhana Soudha Chalo stir.
“We have no timings, no benefits, no insurance and no minimum wages. These are workers who’ve been loading and unloading sacks since 1973,” Shivashankar said. When asked about the government’s ambitious rice scheme, Shivashankar said the Union supports the government in its schemes as long as their demands are met. “We are happy for the scheme, but we need to get our stomachs filled first. However, we don’t want to blackmail the government with anything. We are paid a meagre Rs 2.15 per sack, whereas Tamil Nadu pays Rs 10.15 per sack.”
The Union, which covers about 1,500 workers spread over 193 godowns run by the Department of Food and Civil Supplies, has demanded statutory benefits akin to those enjoyed by workers in godowns run by the Food Corporation of India. “We also demand employee state insurance, gratuity, bonus and other benefits.”