Hind Motors strike threat

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  • Published 12.03.07
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Chinsurah, March 12: The majority workers’ union at Hindustan Motors has called an indefinite strike from tomorrow in protest against suspension of 15 employees and alleged non-payment of salary for two months.

According to police, the workers owing allegiance to the Sangrami Shramik Karmachari Union demonstrated on the factory premises in Uttarpara yesterday against the company’s alleged failure to pay salaries. The Uttarpara plant of the C.K. Birla group flagship has around 5,000 employees.

“This morning, the workers found that 15 of them who had demonstrated yesterday had been suspended. So they went on the rampage inside the factory, damaging machines and stopping work,” said sub-divisional police officer of Serampore Ajay Thakur.

Later, at a meeting attended by Thakur, union president Amitava Bhattacharya and representatives of the management, the union leader demanded that the suspension order be revoked and all salary arrears be paid. “But the management did not agree and the talks failed. The union then called an indefinite strike from tomorrow,” said Thakur.

“We demanded that the suspension order against the 15 workers be withdrawn and our salary for January and February paid. The management only agreed to pay one month’s salary and refused to revoke the suspension orders. So, there was no other alternative for us but to go for an indefinite strike.”

However, the Citu — a minority union at Hindustan Motors — is opposing the strike.

“It will not be right to stop production at the plant at the moment. it is more important to get two months’ salary through discussion and not through strike,” said Santasri Chatterjee, local MP and president of the Citu-led union.

The Hindustan Motors management described this morning’s incident as infighting between the unions.

“We have kept the labour commissioner, the police and state officials posted,” a Hindustan Motors official said.

He said the company had not been able to pay salaries on time because of a cash crunch. But there has not been any default in the payment, he claimed.