MRF lifts lockout in Arakonam, strike enters 19th day

May 27th, 2009 - 5:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, May 27 (IANS) Tyre major MRF lifted the lockout at its Arakonam plant Wednesday, but the unit’s striking workers and their family members, including children, camping outside the labour commissioner’s office here were arrested.
The protesters were camping outside the labour commissioner’s office for the past two days demanding an early solution to the impasse over a contentious wage settlement agreement signed with a rival labour union.

Along with them, workers at MRF’s Puducherry plant too are on strike since May 9.

Production at the two units has come to a standstill for the past 18 days, with the management declaring a lockout at Arakonam May 17.

“Even the Puducherry government seems to be oblivious to our plight. Around 1,400 workers are on strike for the past 19 days,” said S. Sathyanarayanan, general secretary of the striking United Workers Union at the Puducherry unit over phone.

The union said talks with the Vellore administration Monday failed after the district collector said the government could not intervene as the matter is in court.

In a statement Wednesday, MRF said the settlement reached with the Worker Welfare Union envisages increase in allowances with each worker receiving an ad hoc payment of Rs.15,000 as agreement benefit.

The company said the retirement age has been raised from 55 to 58.

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