THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:With Onam season, comes a slew of protests around the city. This time, the Secretariat and Travancore Devaswom Board office have been selected as the main venues by the protestors. On Thursday, the penultimate day of Thiruvonam, Kerala Water Authority H R Employees Congress is taking out a protest to the Secretariat. As a mark of their protest, they will observe a fast by laying ‘empty plates’. Their demand? The H R employees should receive due recognition.
“The constant demands by employee organisation representatives to allot festival allowance and advance payment has not been considered. H R workers with five to 30 years service have not even given a casual labourer status. The Water Authority has to implement the wage hike allotted through the government order with retrospective effect and clear the arrears. We need more job security and benefits including provident fund and ESI,” it said in a statement. Contract labourers such as pump-valve operators, workers, meter readers, plumbers, fitters, drivers and sweepers in the Kerala Water Authority will take part in the protest.
The Devaswom Board contractors organisation leader Muthukulam Sasikumar is planning a fast on Thiruvonam day, Friday with his family.
The protest will be held in front of the office of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) in the city. Muthukulam is protesting against non-timely approval of the bills.
“ Contractors have to wait for years to get the bills approved after completing the tasks assigned. Most are finding money from taking loans or depending on money lenders. The mandate to issue bills within 20 days and pass them in 15 days of completion of the works is violated with the knowledge of the Board. We are often taking up tasks by risking our lives,” he said.
Sasikumar said this was just the beginning of his protests and if the problem is not solved, he will intensify his campaign by opting for a fast-unto-death and approaching the High Court.