Angry garment workers bring Bommanahalli stretch to halt

Angry garment workers bring Bommanahalli stretch to halt

Submitted by alvin on Mon, 2016-04-18 20:12 Bengaluru: At least eight people – mostly women – including police officers were injured during a stone pelting when garment factory workers clashed with the police at Bommanahalli on Monday. At least 15,000 garment factory workers of jockey factory poured on to the Kodichikkanahalli main road to protest against the central government’s decision to withdraw their provident fund benefits. As a result, traffic piled up on the whole stretch for nearly five hours.Although the protest began at around 9 am, it soon became intensive. Some of the protesters burnt tyres and pelted stones. Sensing danger, the police resorted to lathicharge to bring the situation under control but in vain. In the melee, at least eight persons were injured, who were mostly bystanders or did not belong to the protesting group. Protesters have also damaged the police vehicle.Workers from Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd and K Mohan and Co Exports Pvt. Ltd who mostly worked for Jockey said majority of the employees here have been working here since five to ten years in the hope of getting provident funds. “This facility is not available in most of the garment factories,” the protesters said.Workers are upset that the new policy would leave them with little savings. According to the new policy of the Union government, from May 1 workers would be able to withdraw only their PF savings and interest earned by it and not the employer’s contribution. Besides, until they turn 58, they cannot withdraw the money. “If we cannot withdraw money till we turn 58, what’s the use of it,” they rued.  “We come here to provide good education to our children and live a decent life. But the Modi government’s decision is an injustice to middle class people like us,” they said. While the decision was made in February, the workers were not informed at all.Sebastian Devraj, Karnataka Garments’ Association president told media that “The government cannot take this decision unilaterally. It should have been more sensitive towards these employees. They are feared about losing their savings and the protest was a demonstration of their anger.” He further said that all trade unions across the country will hold a meeting on April 26 and will appeal the central government to withdraw its decision.A similar situation was witnessed on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway where the workers of Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd. in Jajjalagere Industrial Area, Maddur taluk, blocked the road during protest.The protest blocked the Madiwala-Hosur junction and over 200 vehicles were stranded for over six hours. Many office-goers who were caught unawares by the turn of events on the stretch had to reach office very late. However, local residents pitched in to help traffic police to clear the traffic.Bhavana, who was caught in the traffic since morning said, “It was horrible. I was stuck in the traffic since 10.50 am and could only move by 3 pm. If police were aware about the protest they could have at least suggested us other routes and spared us from this mess.”