THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For the past seven days, Preetha Babu from Vallakadavu has been fasting outside the petrol pump at Enchakkal near bypass in Perunthanni here. A former staff at the pump, Preetha was among the seven employees who were terminated in April when the state went into lockdown. Seven months on, the 39-year-old continues her fight for her job.
“In April, my mother and other employees faced a pay cut on their March salaries. She and a few other staff members protested against it and were terminated soon after. We are a family of four, solely depending on my salary now. Earlier we could rely on two incomes. My father is unwell and cannot work. One of my sisters is married while the other is handicapped and requires money for her care,” said Vishnu, Preetha’s son.
On Thursday, the Vanchiyoor police shifted Preetha to a hospital. However, she soon returned to the protest venue outside the fuel staton. Though she had started protesting as soon as she lost her job, Preetha went on a fast a week ago demanding an immediate solution.
Perunthanni councillor Chinchu said talks were under way with the petrol pump owner. “We are trying to get both parties to sort the matter out through a discussion. Her termination has affected her family badly. On top of that, her health condition is deteriorating,” Chinchu said. The petrol pump owner was unavailable for comments.Vishnu said Preetha will continue the protest until the management takes a favourable decision.