Amid the continuing deadlock between the traders and the headload workers at Kothuval Street in Chalai market over wage hike, the traders said that they would open their shops on Monday but threatened to bring the shutters down if the talks called by the Labour Office failed.
‘’We will open the shops on Monday. A meeting has been called by the Labour Board at 11 am. But if the talks fail, we will be forced to resort to a complete shutdown,’’ said Mohammed Siddique of Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi, Kothuval Street unit.
Stating that the traders would intensify their agitation if the talks fail, he said that the protest would be spread to the other areas of Chalai.
‘’We have incurred a loss of more than Rs 50 lakh in the last two days. Most of the trucks that had come from Tamil Nadu went back without offloading the materials. It is not clear if they would come back on Monday as the deadlock is continuing,’’ he said.
Pointing out that a discussion was held on Saturday between them and the headload workers in the presence of the Labour Welfare Board officials, Siddique said that the headload workers did not heed to the instructions of the officials, who informed that the status quo on the wages should continue till a consensus was reached.
‘’After the talks, we opened the shops on Saturday but the headload workers were still demanding an increased wage,’’ he said.
Siddique said that the issue of wage hike was not discussed at any forum. The traders were not informed of any wage hike and it was known only after the headload workers demanded it.
‘’No hike has been proposed for the headload workers in the whole of Chalai market. How then the headload workers in Kothuval Street have come to a conclusion that wage hike was implemented in other areas of the market?’’ he asked.
Moreover, Siddique said that they have not received any intimation with regard to wage hike. ‘’A meeting is generally called by the Labour Officer before any wage hike is implemented. This time, we did not have any such meeting,’’ he added.
The issue at the Kothuval Street began on May 2 after a group of headload workers staged a lightning stir, alleging non-implementation of the hiked wages.