The MLA's arrival angered the women workers to such an extent that many of them removed their chappals to shoo him off

Dont need you agitating tea estate workers shoo away politician who came to supportPhoto : Asianet News
news Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 14:05
Many politicians try not to miss a chance for a photo opportunity, especially when a protest for a cause has captured public attention. And that's exactly what CPI (M) MLA from Devikulam, S Rajendran had in mind as he reached in Munnar, to extend support to the strike by Kannan Devan Hills Plantations Limited (KDHP)’s women workers.
The MLA's arrival angered the women workers to such an extent that many of them removed their chappals to shoo him off.
The crowd's agitation only increased as the MLA tried to explain his stand, with the police finally requesting him to leave the venue.
Later the CPI M) announced that Rajendan will begin an indefinite hunger strike in Munnar from Saturday in support of the women protests. He also told media that the women’s reactions were due to anger and pent up emotions and he could understand that.
Though Rajendran was shooed away, Peermedu MLA E S Bijimol of Communist Party of India (CPI) was welcomed by the protesters and she was allowed to sit with them.
Rejecting all trade unions and political parties, around 5,000 women who work in KDHP took to the streets of Munnar one week ago in demand of better wages.
The women had made it clear that they had no leader or action committee, and were determined to keep political parties and unions out.
They are seeking an increase in their daily wage from Rs 230 to Rs 500, and a 20 percent hike in bonus. They have also demanded that wages be paid directly to them and not through the trade union.
All the compromise meetings with labour ministry and management held in last one week have ended in vain.
However many political leaders including Chief Minister Oommen Chandy expressed their solidarity to the strike. “Their needs are reasonable. If necessary I will interfere in the issue soon,” Chandy told media.
Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has also declared support to protesters and said he would join the protest at Munnar if the government does not address the issues.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V M Sudheeran asked the government to intervene immediately.