Amritsar: Industrial workers find their voices unheard in poll din : The Tribune India

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Amritsar: Industrial workers find their voices unheard in poll din

Amritsar: Industrial workers find their voices unheard in poll din

When it comes to forming a pressure group, thousands of skilled and unskilled labourers engaged in industries located across the holy city find themselves at a loss.



Tribune News Service

Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, May 20

When it comes to forming a pressure group, thousands of skilled and unskilled labourers engaged in industries located across the holy city find themselves at a loss. These workers have not been able to set up a formidable group of voters to put forward their demands before the political parties and candidates contesting from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.

Lost labour

  • A major grouse is that the last wage hike was implemented in September 2012. As per law, the wage hike is to be revised after every five years.
  • As per last wage hike, an unskilled labourer is paid over Rs 9,000 per month and skilled labourer over Rs 12,000 per month
  • Left leaders say government departments are helping industrialists conceal exact number of workers in their units to cut down expenditure on salary. Industrialists are using clout to hold back wage revision.

These workers find themselves unheard amid the poll frenzy as they feel political parties and their candidates have not even bothered to take note of their plight.

Scattered across the city, industries operating in the city roll out products in textiles, including suiting-shirting, tweeds, blazers, shawls, stoles and blankets. In hardware, nuts, bolts, screws, nails, agricultural appliances and machinery for printing and packaging are supplied across the country from here. Besides, many more industries are engaged in active production.

Their major grouse is that their last wage hike was implemented in September 2012. As per the law, the wage hike was to be revised after every five years. However, this has not been the case as even after 12 years, their wages remain stagnant while the inflation has galloped during this period. As per the last wage hike, an unskilled labourer is paid over Rs 9,000 per month and a skilled labourer over Rs 12,000 per month.

A leader of labourers associated with Left leaning parties, Amarjit Singh Asal, while speaking about the struggle his party waged to ensure a hike in wages for labourers, said successive governments had ignored it. He also held the lobby of industrialists responsible for holding back the hike using their clout. He recalled that several demonstrations were held, but labourers became disenchanted and abandoned the path of agitation. He said during the course of the agitation, they also learnt that the file relating to their wage hike had been lying in the office of the Chief Minister.

Holding the departments of factories, labour and industries responsible for helping industrialists conceal the exact number of workers in their units to cut down expenditure on paying them full salary along with social security benefits, including ESI hospital services, provident fund, insurance and other welfare services, he said, “Obviously, it’s in return for some favour.”He said this was the reason why the youth were not interested in working in factories and preferred to go abroad, even if it meant doing some menial jobs.

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