'SOS' from a Mobile Tower

‘Wage war’ from a Mobile Tower!

At around 4 p m on April 18, two young men in their 20’s climbed up a mobile tower installed on top of a 10 storey building in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city. Those who would have casually noticed this took it as ‘normal’ taking them for workers doing some maintenance work on the mobile tower. Maintenance workers, they really were. But this time they were climbing the tower to send an SOS from top of the tower.

Passers-by and traffic police soon came to know from some friends of these two youth that Suraj and Joy (both 26), both contract workers with a Mobile Tower maintenance company, had negotiated the height of over 150 feet, when their negotiations with their employer for a rise in the monthly emoluments of around Rs8000 fixed 5 years back had failed. According to reports, while taking them on contract, the employer had given a commitment to revise their emoluments upwards on the expiry of five years. Anxious moments and ‘drama’ of multi-agency negotiations followed as their threat to jump down if their demand for a 25% wage-rise was not met looked real. Participants in the negotiations and rescue operations that lasted more than two hours included officials from Fire and rescue Services and City Police.

Media reports indicate that the youths agreed to climb down after they were assure that they would be given a chance to meet the Labour Commissioner. On the previous day the two youths had met the representatives of their employer in the suburbs of the neighboring district who had turned down their demand for wage-rise and instead implicated them in police cases. It was in this background that they visited Thiruvananthapuram office of their employer to take up their demands at a higher level. The rejection of their demand by the company and possibility of losing the job prompted them to take this extreme step on Thursday.

While there has been no decision on the demands put forth by the two, police has done their duty by registering a case against them for ‘suicide attempt’. Now they are facing ‘criminal charges’, it would be easier for the employer to keep them out of job, at least till the case is decided. In a world where more than eight million people die each year because they are too poor to stay alive, no one will notice these two youths and their families starving to death.  Starving in India gets noticed and becomes a crime only when it is resorted to for political purposes!
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