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Indian workers strike hits production in Bhutan firm

world Updated: Apr 11, 2007 11:25 IST

PTI
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A cease work by daily wage earners from India has affected production at the Bhutan Fruit Products Private Limited in Samtse.

Company officials said the workers have stopped coming to work from April 4, demanding increase in their wages.

"No fixed amount has been demanded. They just want an increase," said the company's deputy general manager Tshewang Penjor.

On an average about 150 Indian daily workers work at the company, Penjor said.

"The number of men employed is based on the requirement and the availability of raw materials."

Penjor said unskilled workers are paid Nu 40-42 (local currency) while skilled workers were paid between Nu 49 to Nu 80 for working eight hours a day.

"The existing wages were revised and increased by Nu 6 in February last year," he said, adding the workers had not given the company any prior information and stopped coming to work the day they demanded for a wage increase.

Penjor said the company has not been doing very well recently.

"We have been making very less profits in the past few years while the cost of raw materials, production and transportation have increased."

After the strike, production had fallen by about 80 per cent. Currently around 30 Bhutanese are working at the unit.

While seasoned workers are paid Nu 100 a day, new comers are paid at par with the Indian workers, company officials said.