KOLLAM: The cashew workers will get 22 percent bonus, including an ex-gratia of two percent, this time. The employees who remain jobless with the closed factories will be provided with an interim relief of Rs 2,000 and free ration of 10 kg rice for the festival season. This was decided at a meeting held by the Industrial Relationship Committee (IRC) here on Thursday. The meeting was held for the third time after the last two meetings had failed to reach a consensus. The trade unions had also demanded increasing the bonus advance to Rs 10,000 from last year’s Rs 8,500, which was hiked to Rs 9000.
As over 30 percent of the private factories still remain closed, the trade unions had demanded interim relief and free ration to the jobless workers. Last year, the workers were given 20 percent bonus while it was 20 percent with 2.5 percent ex gratia in the preceding three years. The employees received Rs 8,500 as bonus, advance payment of Rs 100 and two holiday salaries, making it Rs 9,100. The criterion for bonus was 75 percent attendance. There are over 1.10 lakh cashew workers in the state while over 40,000 employees remain jobless due to the closure of the factories.
“Considering the crisis in the industry, we have agreed upon these terms. The workers will get a minimum bonus equal to the wages of three months and 12 days. This was approved in the meeting attended by labourers, cashew factory management, and the government representatives,” cashew workers’ centre (CITU) general secretary E. Kasim told DC. The chief executive officer has announced the payment of pension dues of the Kerala cashew workers welfare board. The pension for the last seven months from February in the district has been sanctioned. Each member will get Rs 7,500 as the pension under the welfare board.