July 19: Trinamul MP Subhendu Adhikari is learnt to have intervened today to lift an INTTUC-organised ceasework at an industrial unit in Haldia, party leaders dubbing the “prompt action” an effort to offset the damage caused by the Shyam SEL fiasco.
Sources in Trinamul and the INTTUC-affiliated union at Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd, which owns the Nutrela brand, said a few phone calls from Adhikari prompted labour leaders and workers to lift the agitation within six hours.
Adhikari, however, said later that there was no ceasework at the Ruchi factory. The MP heads the permanent workers’ union at the plant.
N. Sukla, the HR head of Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd, said: “I was not there when it (ceasework) happened. When workers got to know I was not present, the matter ended in 15 minutes,” he said.
Several workers said the contractual and permanent workers organised the ceasework to demand wage revision every three years. The company is in favour of such a revision every four years, sources said.
“The alacrity with which our MP stepped in is a pointer to our eagerness to showcase the state as an investor-friendly destination,” a Trinamul general secretary said.
“After what happened at Shyam SEL Power Ltd, the party cannot run the risk of having more trouble in industrial units,” he added.
At 6 this morning, around 600 contractual workers, all members of the INTTUC-backed Ruchi Soya Contractors Workers’ Union, announced the ceasework, several workers said. Soon, many of the 300-odd permanent workers affiliated to the Ruchi Soya Permanent Workers’ Union, which is led by Adhikari, joined them, the workers said.
The workers said all operations came to a halt. “When we came to work this morning, we were told by our union leaders to take part in the ceasework,” said a worker.
The sources said that as soon as information reached Subhendu that the Ruchi Soya Permanent Workers’ Union had joined the ceasework, he called up the union’s leaders and instructed them to call off the protest immediately.
Subhendu said over phone later: “There was no ceasework at the Ruchi factory.”
The working president of Ruchi Soya Permanent Workers’ Union, Harun Rashid, however, said some workers had stopped work. “We requested them to lift the ceasework and they agreed. There was no disruption and the workers were not members of our union.”