The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lever staff want govt to step in

Calcutta, March 22: The workers of Hindustan Lever’s Garden Reach factory have sought the state government’s intervention to reopen the unit where the management has declared a lockout.

The deputy labour commissioner has called the workers’ representatives for a meeting on Monday.

According to a senior leader of the Hindustan Lever Shramik Karmachari Congress, the management of the FMCG major is looking for opportunities to close the Calcutta factory and outsource the products from small local manufacturers.

“In the name of workforce rationalisation they wanted to retrench large number of people which is totally unacceptable to us,” he said and added that the lockout is illegal.

Following a 72-hour strike called by the union on March 19, the management has declared a lockout at the city unit of Hindustan Lever.

The management has, however, said the company has been forced to take this drastic decision although it had plans for further investment to modernise the unit.

“Since February 2000, nearly 37 instances of various unfair labour practices such as flash strikes, illegal strikes, dharnas, slogan shouting within the factory premises have plagued industrial activity in this factory,” an HLL spokesperson said.

He has also pointed out that the factory management has been emphasising to the union the compulsions of the times and the need to make the factory viable in the contemporary competitive environment. “The unions, however, have not been responsive,” he added.

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