Laid-off Nepal workers follow in Hazare’s shoesSeptember 6th, 2011 - 4:46 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Sep 6 (IANS) Scores of militant workers, whose hostilities forced ITC’s joint venture in Nepal to shut down its state-of-the-art garments factory in the Terai plains last month, have now begun to emulate Indian civil society activist Anna Hazare, beginning a fast in front of the factory to pressure the authorities to re-start the venture.
The workers, the majority of whom are women, started a relay hunger strike in front of Surya Nepal’s garments factory in Morang district in eastern Nepal from Monday after the authorities announced they were shutting down the venture following a protracted lock-out due to an attack by the workers.
Surya Nepal, Nepal’s biggest tax-paying company, decided to close its garments factory, constructed with an investment of about NRS 300 million, after workers, demanding pay for an earlier period when they had gone on strike, took 37 administrative staff captive, refusing to allow them food or even water for 24 hours.
They also vandalised the factory, resulting in the deployment of police to rescue the imprisoned employees.
The factory had been producing ITC’s John Players and Springwood garment labels as well as catering to the European and American markets.
Frequent work disruptions led to the cancellation of all orders from abroad, Surya Nepal said.
When the company announced a lockout soon after the rampage in June, neither Nepal’s government nor the chambers of commerce intervened. However, after the blue chip company that also produces nearly 70 percent of cigarettes in Nepal decided to shut down the garments factory, there has been a hue and cry.
Sanjiv Keshava, Surya Nepal’s managing director, has said the factory would not be re-opened and that Surya Nepal would be looking at other investments in Nepal.
Keshava said the security of staff was a prime consideration of the company and when that was in jeopardy, it could not think of continuing.
Last week, the militant workers tried to enforce a traffic halt in Morang as a protest.
Surya Nepal, in which ITC holds 59 percent stake, diversified into garments in 2004 and the factory was built in 2007.
The closure of the garments factory has been noted with concern by foreign investors and has tarnished Nepal’s image as a possible destination for investment.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at email@example.com)
- ITC's Nepal subsidiary closes garment unit - Aug 17, 2011
- ITC not to lift Nepal lockout till 'rogue' workers are reined in - Jun 18, 2011
- ITC declares lockout at Nepal garments factory - Jun 16, 2011
- ITC subsidiary faces double whammy in Nepal - Aug 21, 2011
- After ITC closure, Manipal warns service halt in Nepal - Sep 12, 2011
- Nepal trade unions warn of fresh strikes - Jul 20, 2011
- After Nepal Lever, ITC and Dabur Nepal face indefinite closure - Mar 09, 2011
- ITC safeguards Nepal operations with new plant - Jan 27, 2011
- After ITC venture, Manipal plans exit from Nepal - Sep 16, 2011
- ITC garments factory in Nepal shuts down after labour trouble - May 29, 2009
- Stage set for Nepal PM's India visit - Oct 02, 2011
- ITC's garment factory reopens in Nepal after appeasing Maoists - May 30, 2009
- Another Indian investment flounders in Nepal - Sep 17, 2011
- Insecurity dogs ITC's business safeguard plan in Nepal - Feb 13, 2011
- ITC seeks option to Nepal's troubled Terai - Oct 07, 2009
Tags: administrative staff, american markets, anna hazare, blue chip company, chambers of commerce, eastern nepal, frequent work, garments, hostilities, hue and cry, hunger strike, itc, jeopardy, keshava, militant workers, prime consideration, sanjiv, surya nepal, terai, work disruptions