A green marble quarry at Rishabhdeo – By Sudhir Katiyar Nearly 5,000 tribal workers at the green marble mining area of Rishabdeo in Udaipur district of Rajasthan have been on strike for last three weeks. The workers are demanding an eight hour w …

 

A green marble quarry at Rishabhdeo

A green marble quarry at Rishabhdeo

– By Sudhir Katiyar

Nearly 5,000 tribal workers at the green marble mining area of Rishabdeo in Udaipur district of Rajasthan have been on strike for last three weeks.

The workers are demanding an eight hour work day, registration under the Provident Fund scheme of Government, improved safety measures at mines to prevent accidents, and modest wage hikes. In fact the demands are already mandated by labour laws. However as is the case almost everywhere, the labour laws are followed more in breach.

The mining area is located in a tribal belt that witnesses heavy out migration to Gujarat. However in the mines, nearly half the workers are from other states as owners find them more vulnerable. They stay at the site and work 12 hours a day. This puts pressure on local workers to put in longer hours. Almost five workers die every year because of lax safety arrangements.

The strike has entered its fourth week. The employers, instead of negotiating with the workers, have foisted police cases on union leaders. The strike is unprecedented as the mining belt of South Rajasthan has never seen industrial action on such a large scale. What is surprising is that there is almost no media coverage of such a big industrial action. There has been little outside support.

We appeal to all to support this action of mine workers.

Please take the following action:

Draft letters are below along with the contact addresses. Please send faxes if possible as that remains the official mode of communication.

Smt Vasundhara Raje

Chief Minister of Rajasthan

1012, Chief Minister’s Wing

Secretariat, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Ph 0141- 2227716, 2227687 (f)

Honorable Chief Minister Rajasthan

Nearly 5,000 mine workers at Rishabhdeo, District Udaipur have been on strike for three weeks. Their demands like eight hour shift, paid holidays, security measures to avoid accidents are anyway mandated by law. We are dismayed to learn that the local police has acted in a one sided manner and foisted cases under various sections of IPC at the Union leaders. We understand that the local MLA of your party, Nana Lal Ahari, is one of the mine owners and is responsible for this one sided police action. The right to organize is a fundamental right and the police action has taken away this right. We appeal you to

Order the police department to take back the false cases against the Union leaders

Take a sympathetic view to just demands of the workers and ask the administrative machinery to help them realize their legal demands

With regards

Chief Labor Commissioner ( C )

Shram Shakti Bhawan, New Delhi — 1

011-23710447, 23710521

E mail: bksanwariya@nic.in

Dear Sir

Nearly 5,000 mine workers at Rishabhdeo, District Udaipur have been on strike for three weeks. Their demands like eight hour shift, paid holidays, security measures to avoid accidents are anyway mandated by law. The workers gave a memorandum to the Deputy Labor Commissioner Ajmer on 16.1.14 raising their demands. However even though the strike is now three weeks old, there has been no move on the part of the Deputy CLC Ajmer to initiate conciliation proceedings. We urge you to

Instruct your officer to immediately initiate conciliation proceedings.

Order an inspection of the mines to ensure compliance with labour laws

With regards

CC Deputy Labor Commissioner

Kendriya Shram Sadan, Haribhau Upadhayay Nagar(Ext.), Pushkar Road, Ajmer-305004 (Rajasthan).0145-2603023, 0145-2603024(F)


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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