Udaipur. 14th February, 2014. Nearly 5000 tribal workers at the green marble mining area of Rishabdeo in Udaipur district of Rajasthan have been on strike for last three weeks. The workers are demanding an eight hour work day, registration under the Provident Fund scheme of Government, improved safety measures at mines to prevent accidents, and modest wage hikes. In fact the demands are already mandated by labor laws. However as is the case almost everywhere, the labour laws are followed more in breach.

The mining area is located in a tribal belt that witnesses heavy outmigration to Gujarat. However in the mines, nearly half the workers are from other states as owners find them more vulnerable. They stay at the site and work 12 hours a day. This puts pressure on local workers to put in longer hours. Almost five workers die every year because of lax safety arrangements. 

The strike has entered its fourth week. The employers, instead of negotiating with the workers, have foisted cases on union leaders. It is unprecedented as the mining belt of South Rajasthan has never seen industrial action on such a large scale. What is surprising is that there is almost no media coverage of such a big industrial action. There has been little outside support.

We appeal to all to support this action of mine workers.

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Khan Majdoor Ajmer

Khan Majdoor Udaipur