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Two months to clear Wimco axe appeal

Calcutta, July 31: The government will take 60 days to decide on Wimco’s appeal to retrench 125 employees at its Dakshineswar factory.

Labour department officials said the company, whose 74 per cent is owned by Swedish Match, had applied to the government for retrenching 125 employees. It has a workforce of 700 people.

The workers had called for a strike on Monday following the management’s decision to dismiss eight employees, suspend another 16 and retrench 125.

The government intervened to break the deadlock and additional labour commissioner B. Bhattacharya had called a tripartite meeting today. “Discussions were held on four areas — dismissal of eight employees, suspension of 16 employees, retrenchment of 125 employees and non-availability of ESI facilities,” Bhattacharya said.

The unions — both Citu and Intuc — demanded that the suspension orders be lifted immediately. The management maintained that it would not alter its stand. It cited “fierce competition” from local players and the need to reduce overheads as the reason for retrenching workers.

Wimco has a turnover of Rs 180 crore and three more factories — at Ambarnath (near Mumbai), Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh) and Chennai. It is the leading manufacturer and distributor of matches in India and one of the largest in the world. The company also has a sizeable export turnover.

Dankuni township: A satellite township will come up at Dankuni in Hooghly.

Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya said a Singapore-based company has shown interest in setting up the township, which will accommodate about 1.5 million people, jointly with the government.

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