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Sobhandeb snubs party, floats union

April 19: Veteran Trinamul labour leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay today floated a second union at Durgapur Chemicals Ltd, going against the party’s “one-factory-one-union” stand that was highlighted by the industries minister in the steel town earlier this month.

At the programme on the plant premises to announce the new union, Chattopadhyay, who has been sidelined in the party, expressed fears that the fledgling outfit could come under attack from Trinamul. “We announce the formation of a new union despite knowing that its members will be attacked by those holding Trinamul flags. If such things happen, I will appeal to attackers to leave Trinamul flag and take up CPM flags.” The newly launched Durgapur Chemicals Ltd Permanent Workers’ Association has 150-odd members.

Trinamul trade union INTTUC already has an affiliated unit — Durgapur Chemicals Ltd Karmachari Association — at the factory. The union has around 300 members. The leader of the old union, Partha Pratim Goswami, owes allegiance to Chattopadhyay’s rival faction that is controlled by state INTTUC president Dola Sen and labour minister Purnendu Bose.

Asked if the move to float a separate union at Durgapur Chemicals Ltd would go against the party line, Chattopadhyay said: “I am a member of the core committee appointed by Mamata Banerjee to oversee trade union activities. The two unions will remain till we decide which one will cease to exist.”

Several factories in Durgapur have alleged that multiple unions lead to frequent feuds.

“Sobhandebda is no more associated with the day-to-day functioning of the INTTUC. His move amounts to anti-party activity. Disciplinary action should be taken,” a member of the core committee said.