Kerala government forms committee to address worker's issues in fish processing sector

Minister Sivankutty stated that the committee is expected to deliver its findings within three months.
Acknowledging the impact of reduced fish availability due to the trawling ban on worker's livelihoods.
Acknowledging the impact of reduced fish availability due to the trawling ban on worker's livelihoods.(File Photo)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In response to concerns by Ambalappuzha MLA H Salem of the CPM regarding the challenges faced by workers in the fisheries processing sector, Labour Minister V Sivakutty announced in the Assembly on Friday that the government will establish a committee to investigate these issues.

The committee, to be composed of the Labour Commissioner, Employees State Insurance (ESI) Director, Fisheries director, and representatives from various trade unions within the sector, aims to identify and analyze the difficulties encountered by workers.

Minister Sivankutty stated that the committee is expected to deliver its findings within three months, following which appropriate actions will be taken based on the committee's recommendations.

Acknowledging the impact of reduced fish availability due to the trawling ban on workers' livelihoods, the Minister highlighted that minimum wages were last revised in 2018 for workers engaged in fish processing activities such as peeling, canning, and freezing.

Furthermore, he mentioned the formation of a subcommittee under the minimum wages advisory committee in 2023, tasked specifically with proposing revisions to the minimum wage structure applicable to the sector's workers.

The Labour Department has been actively monitoring compliance with labour laws and ensuring proper working conditions through routine inspections conducted by departmental squads. These efforts include addressing complaints related to minimum wage violations and substandard working environments promptly upon receiving reports.

As fish peeling centres fall under factory regulations, inspections conducted by factory inspectors ensure that essential amenities such as toilets, latrines, restrooms, as well as safety equipment like gloves, masks, and gum boots are provided to workers.

The initiatives underscore the government's commitment to improving conditions for workers in the fish processing sector, reflecting ongoing efforts to uphold labour standards and safeguard workers' rights.

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