CHENNAI: Noon meal employees across Tamil Nadu have decided to continue with their protest after talks with social welfare minister V Saroja failed.
Representatives of the employees met the minister at the secretariat on Tuesday morning and wanted the government to accept their demands which include increasing their salary, pension and gratuity as many of them have completed more than 20 years.
But the minister said she needed time as the issue had to be discussed with chief minister and moreover, the department did not have funds. Supply of noon meal in many schools is affected owing to the ongoing protest.
"We met the minister and asked her to consider our demands, but she was in no mood to accept them. Finally, we pleaded for accepting at least the pension demand. But the minister turned down that too. Hence, we have decided to continue with our protest," said Tamil Nadu Nutritious Meal Employees' Association chief P Sundarambal.
"Some of us have been working for more than 35 years. During the 2011 assembly election, J Jayalalithaa promised us that our living standards would be improved. But nothing has been done till now," said Sundarambal.
Many of the employees have crossed 40 years and majority of them are suffering from diabetes. "People suffer after retirement. We want pension to be increased from 60,000 to 5 lakh for nutritious meal employees and from 25,000- 50,000 to 3 lakh for helpers," she said.