Thousands of workers of a garment factory in Bengaluru blocked traffic on a highway and set vehicles on fire on Tuesday while protesting against amendments to provident fund rules.
Police fired warning shots after the protesters threw stones at the Hebbagodi Police Station and torched seized vehicles parked there. Around 20 people were arrested after the incident which left several policemen injured.
Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in New Delhi that the government has put off for three more months the proposed move to bar withdrawal of employer’s contribution to the provident fund corpus until the employee attains the age of 58. The announcement came amid protests by labour unions in several parts of the country.
Police said they had to resort to lathicharge and fire teargas shells to disperse the violent protesters in Bengaluru. There are approximately over 12 lakh garment factory workers in the city.
At least two Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses and one of Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation were, a police officer said. Incidents of vehicles being attacked were reported from other parts of the city.
Traffic jams were reported at various entry and exit points to the city. City police commissioner NS Megharikh said the situation was under control, but there “are some issues” on the city’s outskirts.
“…we are at work, our officers are at the spot, reinforcement has already gone there. The situation is being brought under control,” he said.
Police said other workers, too, have joined garment workers in the protest against the change in PF rules.
People have also launched online campaign against the decision, which was to be implemented from February 10 but was later put on hold till April 30.
Around 15,000 women garment workers had on Monday staged a massive demonstration on the outskirts of Bengaluru, protesting the change in the Provident Fund Act.