The Telegraph
Monday , August 4 , 2014
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Jobless, lift man rues dash to union

Calcutta, Aug. 3: The lift operator who approached a Trinamul trade union has “resigned” from the Park Street residential complex and said he would not seek the labour outfit’s help again.

Under a “settlement” brokered by the union, the lift operator has “resigned on health grounds” and has been given a cheque for 17 days’ pay for each of the 30 years he worked in the complex, and the union has withdrawn the letter that asked the society to sit for talks within 24 hours.

One mystery remains: what about the 13 days’ pay for each year that the union had initially said should be paid in cash? The union has denied that it had ever made such a demand. “We have only the cheque. They didn’t raise the issue of cash payment today,” an official of the society said.

The society had said it had only suspended the lift operator for his failure to wear the uniform and it was up to him to decide if he wanted to follow the rules and work there.

The bottomline is that the lift operator has lost his job — to secure which he had originally approached the union of commercial workers although it has no role in residential complexes.

Ajoy Mandal and Madhu Bhattacharya, two leaders of the Calcutta Shops & Commercial Establishment Sramik Sansad that claims affiliation to Trinamul’s INTTUC, informed the housing society today that the lift operator wanted to quit. The lift operator was then taken inside. “He said he wanted to resign on health grounds,” said a society official.

The lift operator’s letter said: “I am resigning at my free will without any pressure from anybody.”

But the lift operator told The Telegraph later that he had been “advised” by the union leaders to do so. “They told me that if I continued to work despite whatever had happened over the past few days, the society could frame me in false cases like molestation. I was afraid and decided to quit,” he said.

“I had approached the union leaders because I had thought they would speak on my behalf and I would get back to my job with honour. But the issue got complicated with their interference and I was forced to resign,” he said. “I won’t approach them in the future.”

His wife said: “I don’t understand why he approached the union leaders in the first place.”