The remaining portion of works to print school text books for the upcoming academic year is likely to resume on Monday after employees of the Kerala Books and Publications Society had withdrawn from printing activities following spread of COVID 19 among the workers early this month.
Trade union leaders at the society said that they had informed the society management that they would not be in a position to safely continue the works in the wake of rapid spread of the pandemic among the workers. All the printing works had then been halted on May 8, said M.M. Mahesh of KBPS Staff and Workers’ Union, INTUC.
The printing society has around 170 permanent employees and around 400 other workers. A total of 34 people had been infected at various times. The workers infected include those employed on daily wages and those manning the canteen as well as the permanent employees. Most of the infected workers have recovered or are on the way to recovery, he added.
The workers are represented by three trade unions affiliated to CITU and INTUC as well KBPS Employees’ Federation, affiliated to AITUC.
Abdul Salam of KBPS Employees’ Association, CITU, said that the remaining portion of the printing works would take only four to five days and that the works could be completed next week itself.
He said that out of the roughly 3.16 lakh first volumes to be printed, three crore had been printed already and only about 16 to 17 lakh volumes remained. These works can be concluded next week, he added.
The COVID 19 spread had also resulted in the printing of lotteries at the press. Around a crore tickets are printed at the KBPS for every draw being conducted. However, with the COVID 19 lockdown in place ticket sales are also stalled.
In the meanwhile, the employees have also sought vaccination for the workers on an emergency basis.
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