India Business
Hindustan Motors workers begin hunger strike
May 1, 2007 - 9:42:55 PM

Kolkata, May 1 - After striking work for more than a month, workers of state-run Hindustan Motors' Uttarpara unit here sat on a hunger strike Tuesday demanding Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya's intervention to resolve the labour unrest in the factory.

Workers affiliated to trade union body Sangrami Sramik Karmachari Union - took part in the hunger strike even as members of Indian National Trade Union Congress - simultaneously staged a relay hunger strike to press their demand for an acceptable settlement of the factory stalemate.

'We all want to reopen the factory at any cost. Both the union members and company management agreed on certain conditions. But the factory deadlock is yet to be resolved as nobody is ready to tone down their demands,' another trade union platform Sangrami Jukto Mancha - leader Dilip Yadav told IANS.

Earlier, following a directive from the chief minister, five tripartite meetings were convened by Labour Minister Mrinal Banerjee at the state secretariat Writers' Building to resolve the deadlock.

SSKU members had been holding sit-ins at the factory gate since March 13 demanding regularisation of salary and resumption of payment of dearness allowance that has remained frozen since 2001.

After 29 days of labour unrest, the management of the C.K. Birla Group firm's Uttarpara unit gave the 'suspension of work' notice April 11.

The SSKU representatives had proposed that as a goodwill gesture, the company management should withdraw the suspension notice and the charge sheet against 10 workers against whom punitive measures were taken by the management. Action has been taken against 45 workers.

On April 23, a statement issued by the company - the oldest automobile manufacturing unit in eastern India - said it has put up a notice reiterating its keenness to resume operations in a phased manner but with the condition that the agitating workers eschew violence and give unconditional assurance of discipline.

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