Wages of saltpan workers in Tamil Nadu revised to Rs 600 a day

THOOTHUKUDI: Saltpan owners and labour associations have agreed on a minimum wage of Rs 600 per day for scraping and Rs 590 for other works such as shifting and loading of the salt. The owners and labour associations were at loggerheads for nearly a month and a half over wage revision as the workers had demanded more than Rs 700.

The wage revision talks were held in the presence of Thoothukudi Salt Producers and Traders Association members, Thoothukudi Small Scale Salt Producers and Salt Pan Owners Association and other saltpan workers associations.

The revised wages have been increased from the previous Rs 500 and Rs 490. Other works at the saltpans include shifting the salt heaps and loading them. The wage revision is applicable between April 30, 2024 and April 29, 2026, a statement from the associations read.

A saltpan owner said that the wage hike was fair. “Although the owners suffer huge production losses, they have benevolently agreed to hike the wages by Rs 100,” the owner said.  

CITU-affiliated Saltpan Workers Union president K Ponraj said, “We demanded Rs 700, but the association has agreed to go ahead with Rs 600 as climatic changes have affected salt production. The owners should consider providing medical assistance to the labourers.”

Strongly denying the workers associations’ demand to revise the wages on a year-on-year basis, the owners’ association decided to discuss other demands such as compensation for termination from the job, identity cards, attendance register, wage slips, toilets, shelter and drinking water for the workers, before July 22.

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