THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Traders in the Kothuval Street in the Chalai Bazaar have threatened to down the shutters of their establishments indefinitely from Friday. Traders are resorting to the extreme step in protest against the unilateral and adamant decision of headload workers to not unload consignments from trucks, if the sacks or cartons weighed beyond 75 kg.
Kothuval Street traders were left in the lurch for quite sometime as headload workers in the Bazaar pool were unwilling to unload stocks citing the weight ceiling, even when the same workers had no problem on this score in the adjacent Sabhapathi unit and Chalai main unit as well as in the Attakulangara Bypass and Malakarikada units.
The issue had reached a flash point when a few sugar laden lorries and other consignments had to return from the area in recent days, without unloading the stocks.
Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi Kothuval Street unit president Kalady Aji, general secretary M Mohammed Sidheek and treasurer B Sunil Kumar said that the traders were being forced to react as nothing had materialised after the issue was brought to the attention of the authorities of the Labour Welfare Fund Board.
“The Board chairman washed his hands off and asked us to settle the issue through discussions with trade union (TU) leaders at the local-level,’’ said Mohammed Siddique.
“There is no justification for the stance of workers when they have no problem in unloading consignments weighing 50-100 kg in adjacent streets,” he said.
The traders allege that TU leaders turned against Kothuval Street establishments when the illegal collection of money from sales vans coming to the area and extortion from traders in the name of bonus during festival eves were brought to the attention of the authorities. “The situation is grave. But the authorities concerned are sleeping over it,” the office-bearers said.
Incidentally, owners of the establishments in the area, mostly wholesalers, have suffered heavily since the stand-off with the headload workers cropped up on the eve of the Attukal Pongala, which would have been a time of brisk business otherwise.
An emergency meeting of the KVVES will be held on Thursday at Elite Hall, at 8 pm, to take stock of the emerging situation, informed the office-bearers.