Gujarat: 10 Dalit labourers attempted suicide, were on strike for 62 days

The workes demanded permanent employment, had warned earlier of suicide to the authorities.

10 Dalit labourers in Gujarat attempted suicide by consuming pesticide on the 5th of March. They were among the 70 employees who have been on strike demanding permanent employment from the DCW Chemical Factory in Dharangadhra taluk in Surendranagar district. They were sitting on strike for the past 62 days. These workers have been working with DCW for years and have been employed as casual labour and are being paid only three-fourth of the wages, for only 15 days of the month. Workers said that they sit idle for the other half of the month and thus are asking the factory management to take them on permanent employees. They have also demanded that the company provide employment to the kin of the workers once the workers retire and employment to the kin of the workers who have died on duty. According to the labour union, as these labourers were contract labourers and not employed by DWC, their demands were not just. Jadeja, a BJP leader stated that as they were on contract, legally, they can not demand the benefits of regular services.  

After two months of the labourers not being taken seriously, 10 workers consumed pesticide and were rushed to Dhrangadhra Civil Hospital and from where they were referred to Surendranagar Hospital. Currently, they are out of danger. According to DSP  R.B Devdha of the Dhrangadhra. According to Naushad Solanki, Congress MLA, the district authorities have remained inactive even though they knew something of this sort would happen. “They have been protesting for the last 70 days but neither DCW nor labour union of the company has paid any heed. Their main demand is that since they have been working for years as contract labourers, they know the nature of the job and therefore they should be given priority in the recruitment of regular workers,” Solanki said.

The workers have also shaved their heads, taken a rally being half-naked, and threatened self-immolation in protest. 

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