Dunlop workers in West Bengal block road, rail traffic

December 1st, 2008 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 1 (IANS) A day after tyre-maker Dunlop India Limited declared suspension of work in its Sahaganj unit in West Bengal, the company workers blocked roads and railway tracks demanding the management reverse the decision. Dunlop Bachao Nagarik Manch (Platform for Saving Dunlop), a labour union affiliated to the Trinamool Congress, the principal opposition party in the state, blocked roads and the Howrah-Katwa railway line of Eastern Railway for an hour.

“We will not allow the company owner to sell off the equipment,” the workers said as they staged a demonstration at the factory gate.

“Suspension of work is illegal, according to the Industrial Disputes Act,” Subrata Mukherjee, president of the West bengal unit of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), told IANS.

He said the workers are demanding tripartite meeting between the state government, recognised labour unions and the owner of the company, and added that the labourers were not given salary for October and November.

Kolkata-based businessman Pawan Kumar Ruia ventured into the tyre industry in 2005 by buying Dunlop India from the family of Manohar Rajaram Chhabria, a prominent industrialist, who died in 2002.

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

However, production at Dunlop was suspended Nov 17, and the management announced it would pay a monthly subsistence allowance of Rs 2,000 to every worker.

“The management would like to reiterate here that it remains committed to resuming production at the plant at the earliest once the unions and the management arrive at a consensus on the pending issues”, a statement issued Sunday by the factory management said.

It said it had called the unions for a final round of discussions on November 28 to explain the ground realities once again, and tried to persuade them to agree to the proposals drafted after the meeting of November 15.

“This endeavour too failed, as the unions declined to appreciate the offer of the management favourably even at the changed economic scenario,” it said.

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