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Eatery staff sets up shop on doorstep

Three months after it downed shutters following labour trouble, Nizam’s Restaurant, the vintage kebab-paratha outlet set up by Sheikh Hassan Raza in 1932, shows no sign of reopening.

Agitating employees of the popular restaurant, shut down on August 11 following a wildcat strike by a section of the staff over “late payment” of wages, have set up three concrete chullahs on the pavement on the eatery’s doorstep.

This, claims the management, is in violation of a high court order. “They are blocking the entrance to the restaurant and selling rolls rustled up on those chullahs since last Friday. They say they have permission from the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, which is technically not possible, since it goes against the high court order,” says a representative of the management.

The owners were granted Section 144 by the executive magistrate of the 10th court on August 12. The order had directed the officer-in-charge (OC) of New Market police station to “inquire into the matter and submit a report by November 4”.

It had further said: “He (the OC) is to see that no disturbance is caused in free ingress and egress of the petitioners, staff members, customers to and from the restaurant and no breach of peace is taking place.”

A high court order passed on September 19 decreed that the earlier court order should continue till November 13, when the matter comes up for hearing again as ‘adjourned motion’.

The order also directed the New Market OC (Aloke Kumar Ghosh) “inter alia, to file a report as to the present state of affairs of Nizam’s Restaurant”.

Ghosh told Metro on Tuesday that police have “driven away” the eatery staff hawking rolls on the pavement. However, later in the evening, they were reported to be back, stoking the chullahs and doing business at the restaurant’s doorstep again.

“We had offered the employees a 31-point memorandum of settlement for discussion. But they are not ready to come to the negotiating table,” complains a management spokesperson.

The employees have been demanding 50 per cent wages for the period of closure, which the owners are not agreeable to.

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