Workers allege that the Karnataka Construction Welfare Board is denying them welfare facilities.
Construction workers are yet to be paid Rs. 3000 as promised by the government during the second lockdown, said Pratiban, Vice President of Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI) at a protest at Mysore Road circle.
“There were 24 lakh member recipients, of whom 4.5 lakh had not yet received it. One and a half lakh members are yet to get the Rs. 5000 promised during the first lockdown,” he added.
Members of CWFI are protesting nationwide for the restoration of the recently overturned labour rules, notably the Construction Workers Act of 1996 and the Cess Act, said Mahantesh, National Secretary of the CWFI and General Secretary of the Karnataka State Building and other Construction Workers Federation (KSBCWF).
He added that migrant workers suffered greatly during the pandemic, and he emphasized the importance of strengthening the 1979 interstate workers’ legislation.
Mahantesh said, “Apart from that, in Karnataka, we have a construction welfare board, which has gathered Rs.10,500 crore in cess funds and is giving 19 welfare facilities through the construction welfare board.” However, there are numerous obstacles to adopting them, and they are not functioning, he added.
a. Apart from that, we have not been given free BMTC passes for the past two years, and because we have to travel to several locations, this costs us a lot of money,” said Pratiban.
He added that the children of construction workers are qualified for scholarships, but they did not receive them last year. “Engineering students receive Rs.1,25,000 for four years, or Rs. 25,000 per year, and medical students receive Rs. 30,000 per year, which has not been received in the previous year,” he explained.
The workers also complained about inequality in wages between men and women. Chandrashekhar D, District Vice President of CWFI said that, “While both men and women do the same work, men are paid Rs. 500 and women are paid Rs. 300 daily.” He added that women have complained about having no washrooms in most of the construction sites,but nobody is acting on it.