Provide Specific Economic Relief Package for Salt Pan Workers #ReliefForSaltWorkers

Provide Specific Economic Relief Package for Salt Pan Workers #ReliefForSaltWorkers

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The recent COVID-19 pandemic has spread fast and has paralysed the entire nation’s economy. 

The lockdown has structurally pushed the unorganised and informal sectors of work on the edge of its everyday challenges. 

For many of us, we might very well know the brand name but not the labor behind it. Salt pan labourers are the unsung heroes of the society, who work under extreme harsh conditions to produce salt for us. 

The lockdown excludes restrictions on the activities and production of essential items. Salt being notified under the list of essential items, its production was hence not put on halt. It was anticipated that the production of salt work would continue on a regular basis and the workers would not lose their jobs. But, as the lockdown progressed, the reality on ground in the salt industry deemed to change with the pressure from the state authorities imposing the lockdown. 

Workers who had contracted in the distant brines are unable to go to work because of the restriction on their movement. They are working in harsh conditions, often without PPE, and are struggling to earn a living. Some salt brines are facing temporary closure. 

These labourers stand barefoot in sharp salt crystals during harsh summers and get employment only for 6 months in a year. This pandemic has made things worse by robbing their number of days in the working season and few other problems. 

During the lockdown, the salt workers are suffering heavy loss of income and the families of the workers are facing huge financial hardship. There is an urgent need to provide a specific economic relief package for salt pan workers. Sign my petition.

The relief package must:

  1. Irrespective of any parity, every salt worker/owners to be compensated with Rs 5000/-.
  2. The tenure on lease for small and medium- salt work land owners must be extended.
  3. Provision for requisite permissions sanctioned via concerned authorities to transport the procured salt from the brines should be fastened.
  4. The pandemic has further only exposed the vulnerable conditions of salt workers, who are daily wagers and are deprived of all their rightful benefits as an industrial worker. Therefore, the long standing demand of the salt workers to consider them as industrial workers and provide them all the benefits of the same, surfaces again, to secure their occupation.
  5. Despite the provision to provide Personal Protective Equipment to the workers/owners, the long standing demand of the health insurance, and ESI benefits as similar to the case of industrial workers is unaddressed. This is urgent keeping in mind the global pandemic.

Sign this petition asking the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to provide immediate financial relief to these salt pan workers, and bring lights into the lives of salt pan workers.

-S.Sujitha and Team Coastal People Rights Movement.