HM break and blow

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By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 9.05.07

Calcutta, May 9: The suspension of work at Hindustan Motors’ Uttarpara plant will be lifted tomorrow, but it’s not clear whether normality would be restored as the strongest union walked out of the talks today.

The management signed an agreement with three other unions, including Citu, at Writers’ Buildings this evening. According to it, the employees will join work tomorrow and all discussions relating to their demands will begin 15 days after the resumption of work.

The Sangrami Shramik Karmachari Union, which had struck work from March 13, and Intuc, which had been backing it, demanded that the management tell them right away the amount of DA to be paid.

They had been asking for an end to a six-year DA freeze and the accumulated dues.

Among the other demands were reinstatement of suspended employees and absorption of 242 causal workers.

Unable to continue operations as the striking unions prevented willing workers from joining duty, the management declared suspension of work on April 10.

Today, the management agreed to pay an advance of Rs 3,500 to every worker, which will be deducted from their salaries in seven equal instalments from September.

However, no time frame has been fixed for the outstanding issues to be sorted out.

“We are confident that the majority of workers will resume work tomorrow. The unions who have boycotted today’s talks were in the majority once, but not anymore. We will offer an advance to any worker who applies for it,” chief general manager D. Munshi said.

Citu had opposed the strike. Asked if leaving two big unions out of the pact would affect work, labour minister Mrinal Banerjee, who mediated in the talks, said: “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. It’s an agreement between the management and the three unions. Those who signed (the agreement) today believe that most workers would join tomorrow.”

The Shramik Karmachari Union vowed to continue the agitation. “We hope most workers will not join work tomorrow. If they come, we’ll ask them not to. We will seek the chief minister’s intervention tomorrow,” said its leader Abhas Munshi.