The indefinite hunger strike by employees of Gamharia-based Tayo Rolls in Seraikela-Kharsawan and their family members, scheduled from Monday before company gates, has been deferred by a week as Seraikela MLA Champai Soren, about to lead the fast, fell sick on Sunday.
The MLA, also JMM vice president, was scheduled to lead the strike in support of the staff's demand for a better voluntary separation scheme (VSS) package or the company's revival. But, the Seraikela MLA was hit by sunstroke on Sunday afternoon.
"I had planned to back Tayo employees in their fast from tomorrow (Monday), but had to cancel it as I fell ill. We will do it sometime next week," said the MLA.
Around 700 employees of Tayo Rolls, which is about to shut shop, and introduced VSS with immediate effect from June 1, are leaving no stone unturned to make their demands heard.
While a section is taking JMM's help, another group of employees approached chief minister Raghubar Das on Friday, who assured them of talking to the authorities for a better VSS package. "He has assured us that he would talk to Tata Steel managing director T.V. Narendran in this regard soon," said an employee requesting anonymity.
The employee pointed out when the company had already been referred to Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) due to continuous losses for the past eight years. "It's not wise to stage a blockade or fast for its revival. Rather we should press the management for a better VSS package. As Tayo Rolls is a sister concern of Tata Steel, we will get a better deal."
Tayo staff and their family members are uncertain about their future as by July 15, they will have to submit applications for the VSS package, which will be equivalent to 18 days' salary in a year, calculated on the basis of their remaining term in the company.
Under the BIFR norms, an employee is entitled to get only 15 days' salary in a year.
"Our future is dark. We will not only stop getting salaries from next month, but also have to leave our company quarters by this year-end. Our children's education will also suffer," said an employee.
Tayo Workers' Union president Rakeswar Pandey said he hoped the state would intervene and save the company.