Durgapur, Oct. 30: Security guards at a private iron bar factory in Durgapur have allegedly threatened to kidnap the personnel manager after their Puja bonus decreased on being transferred to another unit.
P.K. Neogy, the personnel and administration manager of SPS Steel Rolling Mills Ltd, has lodged a police complaint alleging that a security guard has been threatening to kidnap him when he goes for morning walk.
“Security guard Muktipada Ruidas called me yesterday up on my cellphone and threatened to beat and kidnap me when I go for morning walk. I had earlier lodged a police complaint accusing him of instigating other guards and workers to stop production at the plant demanding a higher bonus. I joined the company in June and I stay alone in Durgapur. My family in Calcutta is worried. So, I went to the police,” Neogy said.
Fifteen security guards of SPS Steel Rolling Mills were shifted two months ago to the factory of Indo-American Electricals Ltd, a company the group acquired two years ago.
The Puja bonus at the factory in which the guards were previously posted was 15 per cent of their annual wages, against 11 per cent at the new unit.
“The transferred security guards demanded that they be given bonus at 15 per cent. We told them that the new unit started production only two years ago and we would be unable to pay a higher bonus. But they remained adamant,” Neogy said.
Over 100 security guards led by Ruidas stopped work at the plant on October 19 and demonstrated outside the main gate beside NH2.
“The agitators stopped water supply to the quarters of senior officials in Durgapur and also forced the cook to leave the guesthouse where those of us who don’t have families here have food. Production at both the units were affected after other workers joined them. Ruidas and the others abused me (during the protest),” Neogy said.
He, however, ruled out the involvement of trade unions INTTUC and Citu.
Ruidas was suspended last night by Dark Security Consultant Pvt Ltd, which supplies guards to SPS Group-owned factories.The October 19 demonstration was withdrawn about five hours later when the police and senior INTTUC leaders intervened. But trouble started again two days ago after the management suspended one of the contract workers for mishandling machinery at the older plant.
Ruidas, who claimed to be a local INTTUC leader, led some workers to the house of senior executive Gopal Karmakar and threatened him in front of his family.
“Ruidas and some others banged on the door of my quarters and barged in when I opened. They abused and threatened me with dire consequences if I did not withdraw the suspension order. My family was terrified,” Karmakar said.
Ruidas claimed he was fighting “injustice”.
“The company intentionally transferred us to give us a lower bonus. The suspension of the worker was injustice. As I am protesting, they are fabricating charges against me,” he said.
Today, Ruidas and 100 other contract workers sat on a dharna outside the SPS Steel plant gate and threatened to stop work.
They dispersed when the police enforced Section 107 of the CrPc, which prohibits anybody from disturbing public tranquillity.
“We told the agitators they would not be allowed to disturb public tranquillity inside or outside the factory premises and for that we have clamped Section107 of the CrPc in the area. We are probing the complaint of threatening the manager over phone,” said Sunil Yadav, additional deputy commissioner of police (east division).