Workers protest Birla Tyres factory shutdown

January 20th, 2009 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Jan 20 (IANS) More than 1,000 workers of a Birla Tyres unit in Orissa Tuesday staged a demonstration in protest against the temporary shutdown of the facility, the police said.The workers took out a procession from the factory at Balasore, some 200 km from here, to the office of the district collector, raised slogans against the company management and sought the district administration’s intervention.

Birla Tyres, a unit of the BK Birla group company Kesoram Industries, shut down operations Monday saying the measure was temporary and that operation would resume Feb 1.

The company said it was forced to shut down the plant, where some 2,200 people are employed, due to a slump in demand. It said the employees will not be paid during the shutdown.

But labour union leader Rajendra Bal said the move was aimed at permanently shutting down the unit.

“The company management is doing this to close down this plant permanently. When they are running their units located elsewhere how can they can shut down the unit here,” Bal said.

“The administration should declare the shutdown as illegal,” Bal said, one of the six demands made in a memorandum submitted to the district administration.

Set up to manufacture automobile tyres, tubes and flaps in Balasore district, the unit started commercial production in March 1992.

According to the company, the unit has an installed capacity of 1.50 million tyres, tubes and flaps per year. Approximately, 30 percent of its production is exported to 43 countries.

The unit had shut down operations for 15 days last month because of the same reason.

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