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TN: Construction Workers Rally for 24-Point Charter of Demands

The workers demand the state government release notifications for key decisions taken in the meetings of its welfare board.

Workers held district-wise banners and participated in the rally. Image courtesy: Theekkathir 

Construction workers staged a rally from Egmore to the Tamil Nadu Secretariat in Chennai on Wednesday to grab the attention of the state government. They reiterated their demands to pass a GO and implement the decisions taken by the Tamil Nadu Construction Workers’ Welfare Board (TNCWWB). 

In its number 35, 36, and 37 meetings, CWWB made several decisions. They include increasing the pension from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000, pensions from the day a worker turns 60, and pensions for women workers from the age of 55. Additionally, they also decided that the pension should be given by the 10th of every month. 

Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI), affiliated to the CITU, state president KP Perumal led the rally. CITU State President A Soundararajan participated in it. 

Speaking to media persons, he stressed that the demands of the rally included election promises of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), and workers are disappointed because they are not fulfilled.

“Construction workers do not have legal benefits like ESI and PF. They are dependent on the welfare board. The welfare board took many decisions, but the government has not released notifications for any of them. The state should provide relief for construction workers who will be out of work during the monsoon seasons.”

“In some other states, monetary support for education is provided from Class I. Tamil Nadu should also implement this,” he added.

In the previous budget session, in March 2023, the Tamil Nadu government announced free education and Rs 50,000 per year if children of construction workers get admitted to any Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management or a government medical college in Tamil Nadu for MBBS course. It is expected to cover only 35 students.

The Federation’s general secretary, D Kumar, said, “The Rs 1,000 pension provided by the government is not sufficient; it should be increased. Many applicants for the housing scheme are not provided the grant they should be given.”

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, in November 2022, launched a housing scheme for construction workers who are registered members of the CWWF. The scheme is meant to benefit over 10,000 construction workers annually at a total cost of Rs 400 crore.

A bonus should be given without fail for the Pongal and Diwali festivals, reiterated CWFI.

The rally emphasised a 24-point charter of demands. Following the rally, union leaders met Tamil Nadu Labour Welfare Department secretary Kumar Jayant and submitted a memorandum.

In June this year, construction workers held protests at district headquarters and submitted their demands to district collectors. There was no progress, so CWFI called for this rally in the state capital.

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