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Munnar tea plantation on verge of lockout

NewsGram Staff Writer

Thiruvananthapuram: With the daylong meeting of the ‘plantation labour committee’ (PLC) failing to resolve the impasse over the demand of Rs 500 as daily wage for plantation workers in Thiruvananthapuram, the trade unions declared an indefinite strike from Monday.

Over 10,000 women plantation workers from the Kannan Devan Hills Plantations (KDHP) Company Private Limited owned Munnar tea plantations went on a strike earlier this month. However, their demand of 20 per cent bonus was accepted after nine days of strike.

At that time, the talks was held under Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and it was assured that their demand of raising their daily wage from Rs 231 to Rs 500 would be considered at the PLC meeting.

Post the marathon nine-hour-long meeting on Saturday, state Labour Minister Shibu Baby John told reporters that the Association of Planters Kerala (APK) did not accept the trade unions’ demanded of Rs 500 as daily wage.

“The state government has put up some suggestions before the APK. They said they will look into it and return for the next round of talks scheduled for Tuesday evening,” said John.

Meanwhile, the trade unions announced that they will initiate an indefinite strike from Monday as the women workers in Munnar are firm on their demand of Rs 500 as daily wage.

A male plantation worker told reporters, “the men would also join the indefinite strike from Monday. We are waiting for the return of our women leaders from the capital city and tomorrow (Sunday), we will meet as many employees as possible to launch our strike from Monday.”

An APK representative terming the situation as “most unfortunate” said, “we will have no other option but to declare a lockout, if they (unions) insist on Rs 500.”

(With inputs from IANS)

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