Representatives of the Ugar Sugar Contract Workers Union, affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress, have said that the management of Ugar Sugar Works Ltd. is preparing to sack workers demanding wages as per Minimum Wages Act.
Addressing a media conference here on Tuesday, honorary president of the union Mahesh Kumar Rathod said that 54 workers who have been serving in the company as security guards for 15 years are under the constant threat of being removed from their jobs.
“These workers have been working in the sugar factory for meagre wages for the last 15 years. They are working under a contract labour system. They never demanded wages as per the Minimum Wages Act as they are not organised. It was only after 2021, when their union officially got recognition, that they started demanding wages as per the Minimum Wages Act. Now, the management has cancelled the agency to which labour supply was outsourced. It is planning to outsource the jobs to a new agency on the condition that the old workers should not be deployed,” Mr. Rathod said.
When asked whether or not the workers had approached the Labour Department, Mr. Rathod said that the workers did complain to Deputy Labour Commissioner in Kalaburagi who, in turn, held five meetings with workers and the management but in vain.
“The Deputy Labour Commissioner held five meetings with the management in the presence of these workers and asked the factory management to comply with the provisions of Minimum Wages Act. But, the management continued to violate the provisions of the law. It is surprising that the Labour Department did not take any action despite the clear violations,” Mr. Rathod said and demanded that the State Government intervene and resolve the issue.
“If the factory management outsources labour supply to a new agency and the new agency replaces the old workers with new ones, we will not allow the agency and the new workers to function,” Mr. Rathod warned.
Aggrieved workers Babu Qutubsab, Shankaragouda, Vijayakumar and Ranganath were present.