Following Offset Printers Association's (OPA) decision to increase printing prices by 20% due to hike in cardboard boxes and other printing material, city printing shops remained shut to protest on Saturday.
They protested against price rise of the material that lead to a loss of a whooping `4 crore to printers. The association also decided that a one-day strike in the entire northern region of Punjab, Haryana, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chandigarh would also be observed.
OPA vice-president Kushal Kumar Jain said, “We are in contact with the printers' associations of north
India and a joint action committee is being finalised to overcome the unnecessary increase in kraft paper and duplex board prices by mills”.
He added that the increase in these items has resulted in unnecessary harassment to printers, who had to face severe losses. To overcome the losses, OPA has decided to increase the price of printing by 20%.
“Printers were compelled for this increase because for the past three to four months, the prices of kraft paper, duplex board and other paper have shown an increase of more than 30%. It is now impossible to withstand this increase, especially when the labour cost for skilled and semi-skilled workforce has also increased,” he further said.
Sanjay Gandhi, office bearer of OPA, said it was a crucial time for the printing and packaging industry.
“We are facing stiff challenge such as tax free zones in neighbouring states, dependence of local industry on Chinese products, and non-availability of skilled and unskilled workers,” he said, adding that the printing and packaging industry was dependent on migrant labourers from the less-developed states, but due to new schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), they were settled in their states and did not find any attraction to come to Punjab.