Angry workers demonstrate at Dunlop’s West Bengal factory

November 18th, 2008 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Nov 18 (IANS) A day after tyre major Dunlop suspended production at its Sahaganj unit in West Bengal, angry workers Tuesday staged a demonstration and threatened to enter the factory by breaking open the gates.Led by the state’s main opposition party, the Trinamool Congress, several hundred workers gathered near the gates and raised slogans against company chairman Pawan Kumar Ruia.

A large posse of police personnel were posted around the factory, though some workers tried to enter the factory forcibly.

The Trinamool Congress has now convened a meeting near the factory gate Wednesday, with senior leaders slated to address the agitating workers.

Dunlop Monday stopped production at the factory ‘for the time being’ citing lack of demand and shortage of working capital due to the global recession.

A Dunlop official said workers have been asked not to come to the factory, but announced that the company would pay a monthly subsistence allowance of Rs.2,000 to each of its 1,202 workers till the situation normalised and production resumed.

The official said the major unions - affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress - were informed of the decision last Saturday, and that they had agreed to go by the decision.

“This was the best option before us. Otherwise, we may have had to go for lock-out,” he said, assuring there would be no layoff.

The spokesman could not give a timeframe for production to resume. “We may get the working capital funds in 15 days, or it may be three months. We don’t know. But we are hopeful that we will be able to solve the problem fast,” he said.

Commercial production at the ailing tyre major’s Sahaganj factory had resumed Jan 14 last year after a five-year closure.

Dunlop was bought over by Kolkata-based businessman Ruia from Manohar Rajaram Chhabria’s family in late 2005.

The unit, which has a full capacity of 130 tonnes a day, was producing only 45-50 tonnes a day till Monday.

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