Head-Load Workers, KBF Reach Agreement on Labour Tariffs

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Kochi: As the city readies for the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), an important agreement has been inked between the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) and unions representing head-load workers in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry – where most of the 12 Biennale venues are located.

The agreement, which outlines each party’s responsibilities and standardises remuneration, entails an across-the-board 30 per cent reduction in the rates for unloading and installing artworks in relation to the KMB in 2014. This makes the charges for KMB 2016 comparable to the going rates for handling handicrafts.

The move to fix rates came after discussions were held between the Foundation, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), among other organisations, to preempt labour issues as had arisen at previous Biennale editions.

Besides fixing an overtime allowance of 20 per cent from the base rate for any after-hours work, the agreement standardises rates with respect to the type of vehicle bringing the works and materials to the venue – with the highest slabs reserved for container transports and the lowest for three-wheeler cargo vehicles.

Noting that the Foundation was deeply appreciative of the workers’ efforts and commitment, Riyas Komu, KMB Director of Programmes said, “This vital agreement made in the spirit of co-operation goes to show just how important the Kochi-Muziris Biennale has become to the city and its people. It is truly a ‘people’s Biennale’ in every sense.”