General secretary of the Karnataka Rajya Samyukta Akshara Dasoha Karmikara Sangha D. Nagalakshmi said that while the head cooks were given just Rs. 1,100 per month, the helpers were given Rs. 1,000.
The workers resorted to the protest after their repeated requests to increase salaries had not evoked any response.
She pointed out that the workload of the cooks and helpers had increased after the Ksheera Bhagya scheme that aims to provide milk to schoolchildren thrice a week was launched on August 1. “Converting milk powder to milk is not an easy task, especially because it has to be done for a large number of students. After the launch of the Ksheera Bhagya scheme, we end up working at least three hours more. But all that we get is Rs. 100 extra,” she said.
Ms. Nagalakshmi said that the workers have demanded an increase in wages as per the Minimum Wages Act.
The workers should be paid at least Rs. 6,000 per month, she said.
S. Geeta, who has been working as a head cook in a school in Bellary district for the past 11 years, said, “We feed so many children across the State and yet the government is inconsiderate to our long-pending demand. We have been finding it difficult to sustain our livelihood with such a meagre amount.”