Govt warned of street protests if workers’ salary is not hiked

Friday, Jul 01, 2022 08:15 [IST]

Last Update: Friday, Jul 01, 2022 02:36 [IST]

Govt warned of street protests if workers’ salary is not hiked

GANGTOK, : If the workers come out on the streets in Sikkim demanding wage hike then it would be very difficult for the government to control them, warned a group of pharma workers and the Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum (SPYF) on Thursday.

Addressing the media here, pharma worker Damber Rai and Chandra Subba reminded the ruling SKM of its pre-election promise of providing Rs. 20,000 monthly wages to the workers in Sikkim within “100 days of forming the government”.

“Three years went by but no wages were hiked for the workers. On May 1 (Labour Day), the government announced that workers will be paid Rs. 15,000 as monthly salary. Now two months have passed but nothing has happened in this direction. No notification has been issued and we doubt whether it will actually happen,” said Damber.

The pharma workers at the press meet maintained that the present monthly salary of Rs. 9,000 is grossly insufficient to make a living when market prices are increasing regularly. “It is not we receive Rs. 9,000 in total, after deductions, we take home around Rs. 5,000-Rs.6,000 and that is not sufficient to take care of our families as market prices of essential commodities have risen considerably,” they said.

“We will now no longer wait for the salary hike notification. The government must issue the notification within a week or so otherwise the workers will come out on the streets. If we all come out, it will be very difficult for government to control us. Today we came here (before the media) and in coming days, we will come out on the roads with our demand,” said Damber.

SPYF general secretary Rupen Karki reminded that the workers from all parts of the State were brought to Gangtok on Labour Day to thank the State government for the Rs. 15,000 salary hike announcement. The State government went on a publicity drive on the salary hike announcement but it looks like that the workers were merely given an empty promise, he said.

Karki shared that a worker, considering the current inflation and other factors, need around Rs. 700 as a daily wage to survive, as compared to Rs. 300 per day being paid to the worker. “To break the organisation of the workers, the State government announced Rs. 15,000 as monthly salary but has so far not issued any order to the companies. The workers are not asking for largesse or alms from the government, it is their right to get a living wage. There are around 2 lakh workers in Sikkim and this large section of the State’s population is living in deplorable condition. They must get proper value for their sweat,” he said.

“We give a 10-day ultimatum to the State government to take out the notification on salary hike to Rs. 15,000. If they fail to do so, we will take definite steps in coming days,” said the SPYF general secretary.

Adding to this, pharma worker Chandra Subba shared that the announcement but not implemented salary hike has already brought adverse impact for the pharma workers. Though our salary has not been hiked, the announcement to do so has seen a rise in room rents and other requirements of the workers, she said.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi