MANGALURU: With a decline in production by about 55%, over 2 lakh beedi workers are jobless, and their indefinite strike continues even after a week. While workers get to work only for three days in a week, they are also underpaid.
They get just Rs 190 when they produce 1,000 beedis, and the CITU has warned that the protest will be intensified if their demands are not met. The main demand of beedi workers, who commenced a dharna on August 7, is to increase their wages to Rs 210 for rolling 1,000 beedis. CITU Beedi Workers Federation president Vasantha Achari said the state government has failed to implement minimum wages for beedi workers in the state.

“Beedi workers have not been given dearness allowance which was declared in 2015. Meanwhile, they are now not receiving minimum wages too. CITU will take the fight for beedi workers through legal and organizational battles,” he said, while addressing beedi workers.

CITU district vice-president B Lokaiah said beedi workers are forced to hold an indefinite strike since their long-pending demands are not met.

“We ha ve held several protests through our organization and submitted memorandums to many leaders. We will intensify our protests if demands of beedi workers are not fulfilled,” he added. Federation leader Ramani Moodbidri said a majority of the beedi workers are women, and they have been facing difficulties due to not receiving the mandated facilities. “We need to hold mass protests for the fulfilment of our demands including dearness allowance and minimum wages,” she added.

Federation district general secretary J Balakrishna Shetty said the workers are forced to hold protests even though they are eligible for facilities.

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