LABOUR UNIONS across the state held protests on Tuesday afternoon in support of the nationwide strike called by central unions on January 8 and 9. On Wednesday, unions will hold protests at various district-level locations.
The Trade Union Joint Action Committee said 5,000 labourers gathered at Azad Maidan on Tuesday. “Factory workers, anganwadi workers, midday meal workers and others gathered at Azad Maidan while workers of BEST, BSNL, LIC and other central government employees held protests outside their offices,” said Vishwas Utagi, convener of the committee.
Utagi added that they have given a call to vote against the BJP-led government in the state and the Centre. “The government has ignored our demands and not invited us to discuss our issues. It is least bothered about labourers’ issues,” he further said, adding that district-wise protests will be held on Wednesday as part of the two-day nationwide strike.
Shivaji Jamune, a factory worker from Vikhroli, said he was at the protest with 22 other labourers. “We want our minimum wage immediately and want all our contract employees to be absorbed permanently,” he added.
Ramesh Mate, another labourer who came from Taloja MIDC, said his group wanted their jobs back. “Our company was sealed in December 2015 and production was stopped in June 2016. We did not get seven months’ salary from December 2015 to June 2016. We have been fighting for it. Besides, the company was recently bought by some other people who plan to start it again. So, we want the new owners to give us jobs there,” he added.
Unions were demanding withdrawal of “anti-labour” policies.