ALAPPUZHA: The indefinite strike called on August 4 by a section of the employees in the fish processing industry has severely affected the multi-crore seafood business in the state.
More than 125 processing units in Alappuzha and Ernakulam districts have been reported to have stopped functioning since the strike began.The owners of the processing units in protest have decided to suspend activities from August 16.
According to reports on Tuesday, fish processing employees have demanded implementation of a “unified wage structure”, which the state government had recommended earlier and which the unit owners have been refusing to implement.
“The unit owners have been paying the old wages which are well below what the government had recommended,” said members of the Kerala Malsya Samskarana Thozhilali Union (KMSTU) on Tuesday.
According to KMSTU president K Prathapan,
the State Labour Department had also issued clear directions on the wages payable in 2010, but the unit owners had been going against it.The wages fixed by the Labour Department is to the tune of `14.33 and DA for peeling one kg of prawns that numbers between 200 to 400. It will be higher by `5.22, amounting to `19.55 and DA, if the number of prawns is between 400 and 500.
The wages will again be more (`23.89) in case the number of peeled prawns is more than 600.But, according to Prathapan, the average wage paid by an employer has been between `250 and 300 for a nine-hour job, which is far below the government and Labour Department orders.
The working conditions are also sub-standard, alleged Prathapan, adding that the prolonged, subversive attitude of the employers had been the cause for the sudden state-wide strike.