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TN: Construction Workers Hold Protests, Reiterate Demands

Workers demand the state pass ordinances incorporating recommendations made during past two meetings of Construction Workers’ Welfare Board

Protest by CWFI, Trichy. Image courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu

The Construction Workers’ Federation of India (CWFI), affiliated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), held protests and submitted memorandums to district collectors in various parts of Tamil Nadu on June 19, reiterating existing demands

They demanded the state pass ordinances incorporating the recommendations made during the past two meetings of the Construction Workers’ Welfare Board (CWWB). The 35th and 36th meetings of the Board were held on December 14, 2021, and July 5, 2022, respectively.

The board unanimously decided that a Diwali festive bonus of Rs 5,000 should be given to the construction workers. Workers protested before the festival, but the state did not budge. The neighbouring Puducherry provides a Diwali bonus of Rs 3,500 to construction workers.

CWWB recommended increasing the monthly pension for retired construction workers from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000. However, the CWFI demands an added pension of Rs 3,000 for women construction workers.

To avoid delays, CWFI demands pension to be paid from the date a construction worker turns 60 years of age, and in case of a delay, the pension should be paid in arrears.

In case of the death of a pensioner, provision should be made for a natural death benefit of Rs 50,000 and a cremation grant of Rs 5,000, urged CWFI.

Combining the free housing scheme provided by the Welfare Board and the housing scheme of the Union Government, Rs 8 lakh should be made available to the workers, demands CWFI. Moreover, it demands that the minimum three-year membership with the board to apply for housing benefits be relaxed so that workers can easily benefit from the housing scheme.

The CWFI also demands to increase the role of the trade union within the Board. The union demands a system whereby trade union representatives approve all petitions for welfare benefits. Moreover, they demand that the union be given the right to sanction membership certificates of the construction workers to the Board.

The protesting workers have said that it is insufficient for the demands to be brought to the attention of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu but that an ordinance should be issued in the legislative assembly.

The welfare board has a fund of Rs 4,150 crore, and 20 lakh workers are registered.

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