200 diamond artisans employed with Thummar Gems organised protest demanding wage hike.

Surat : Over 200 diamond artisans employed in a diamond company in Varachha took to the streets, demanding wage hike on Monday.

Few days ago, the diamond artisans employed at Thummar Gems had protested against the company owners for not increasing their wages, despite the fact that the demand for diamonds in the world market has increased post-Covid. The artisans demanded that the owners must increase the wages by Rs 1 per piece.

However, the company owners increased the wages by 50 paise taking the total wage paid to the workers on a piece of diamonds to Rs 10.50.

A diamond worker employed with Thummar Gems asking anonymity told TBT, “We are made to work for more than eight hours. This means that the diamond demand in the world market is robust and the owners are getting huge orders. Covid-19 has broken the spine of the common artisans in the industry. It is the responsibility of the company owners to reciprocate the workers by increasing their wages by Rs 1 per piece”

Another worker said, “Diamond labour in Surat is the cheapest in the world. We are producing about 93% of the polished diamonds in the world. Still, we are getting peanuts in the name of wages. The prices of petrol and diesel have skyrocketed, inflation is on the higher side and it is difficult to survive in these trying times”

Bhavesh Tank, vice-president of Gujarat Diamond Workers’ Union (GDWU) told TBT, “The diamond company owners are literally sucking blood out of the diamond artisans. In such trying times of coronavirus, the company owners must protect their workforce financially. When the diamond business is doing well, there is no harm in paying more wages to the workers”