The remaining portion of textbook printing work for the next school year is expected to resume on Monday after Kerala Books and Publications Society employees withdrew from printing operations following the spread of COVID 19 among early workers of this month.
Company union leaders said they had informed company management that they would not be able to continue work safely following the rapid spread of the pandemic among workers. All the printing works were then shut down on May 8, said MM Mahesh of the Staff and Workers’ Union of KBPS, INTUC.
The printing plant has around 170 permanent employees and around 400 other workers. A total of 34 people had been infected at different times. Infected workers include those employed for daily wages and those who run the canteen as well as permanent employees. Most of the infected workers have recovered or are on the verge of recovery, he added.
The workers are represented by three unions affiliated to CITU and INTUC as well as by the Federation of KBPS Employees, affiliated to AITUC.
Abdul Salam of the KBPS Employees’ Association, CITU, said the remaining portion of the print jobs would only take four to five days and the jobs could be completed next week itself.
He said that of the first approximately 3.16 lakh volumes to be printed, three crore had already been printed and only 16 to 17 lakh volumes remained. This work can be completed next week, he added.
The spread of COVID 19 had also resulted in the printing of lotteries to the press. Approximately one million tickets are printed at KBPS for each draw made. However, with the COVID 19 lockdown in place, ticket sales are also stalled.
In the meantime, the employees have also requested the vaccination of the workers in an emergency.