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Union help for contract worker

Mumbai, Oct. 6: Akhtar Khan, the former contract worker at Tata Power who set himself ablaze in front of Bombay House on Friday, is still not out of danger.

His colleague, Anand Dalvi, who also set himself ablaze on being told that the company’s internal union would not negotiate on their behalf for a compensation package, died on Friday night.

Both workers had been jobless since 1996, with their families claiming that they had worked for more than 20 years as “temporary” workers on various Tata Power projects.

About 500 workers have not had their contracts renewed since 1996. Of these, nearly 70, including Khan and Dalvi, had lodged a case against the management.

A local trade union organisation, the Mumbai Mazdoor Sabha, has come forward to help these former workers. It has paid Rs 56, 951 in medical bills at the Masina Hospital where Khan is being treated, and has promised legal help to the workers.

In a token gesture, the Tata management has paid Rs 10,000 of the hospital bills, a former worker said.

“We will also file a case for the Tata project workers seeking justice and adequate compensation,” said Chandbibi Zaidi of the Sabha. She added that her organisation would try to provide financial help to the affected.

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