Aurangabad, Sep 15 (PTI) An association on Tuesday demanded a two-fold hike in wages of sugarcane field labourers in Maharashtra and also better working conditions for them.
Harvester machines deployed to cut sugarcane in fields are paid more than labourers for the same amount of work, said the Maharashtra Rajya Ustod Vahatuk Kamgar & Mukadam Sanghatana.
'We have demanded doubling of labour charges for cutting sugarcane. Also, health insurance premium must be paid jointly by the state government and sugar factories, and not by workers,' the Sanghatana's secretary, Sushila Morale, told PTI.
A meeting was held on September 10 in Mumbai which was attended by state government officials, sugar factory representatives and associations of sugarcane field workers.
The demand to hike wages of sugarcane cutting labourers, among other things, was put forward in the meeting, she said.
'Harvesters are being used for cutting sugarcane in fields. They are paid Rs 400 to 600 for one ton of sugarcane cutting, whereas labourers are paid Rs 239.60 for the same amount of work.
'This is unfair. Labour charges being currently paid should be doubled this year,' Morale said.
'We have also demanded good quality food for labourers at a subsidised rate and better living conditions for them by sugar factories,' she said.
Also, health check-up of workers should be arranged by factories in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the secretary said.
When contacted, Maharashtra State Co-operative Sugar Factories Federation managing director Sanjay Khatal said, 'We received demands from associations at the meeting.
'We will talk to factories, too, and then take forward the demand for hike in wages.' PTI AW RSY RSY