KOCHI: The Synthite Industries’ plant at Kadayiruppu witnessed dramatic events in the early hours of Sunday after a flash protest held by the Synthite Industries Employees’ Union (affiliated to CITU), turned violent. The Synthite Industries spokesperson alleged the protesters blocked the employees from entering the factory and physically assaulted them. A supervisor was admitted to a private hospital after he was manhandled. Protesters are also accused of destroying the company ambulance and other vehicles parked in the vicinity of the factory.
The Puthencruz police station registered a case based on the statements of the supervisor and the ambulance driver. The protesters’ act of blocking the employees to enter the company has found its mention in the police report. Though the police have stationed a unit at the factory, the protesters continued with the sit-in outside the Synthite unit at Kadayiruppu.
A senior company executive said the police stood mute witness when the protesters ran amok. However, K S Arunkumar, president of Synthite Industries Employees’ Union (CITU), denied the allegations. “We only blocked people from entering their scheduled shift as the company went against our earlier agreement by transferring 18 employees on May 30,” he told Express.
The transfer of seven employees by the Synthite management last month had sparked a protest led by the CITU-union. The following protest ended after mediation efforts from the District Labour Commissioner was successful in resolving the dispute.
Commenting on the transfer of 18 employees on May 30, the management said the employees belonged to a team which was designated to operate the machinery that it was forced to transfer to its Coimbatore plant due to the earlier lockout. The spokesperson said the 18-member team comprised employees belonging to both CITU and Synthite Employees’ Welfare Association (SEWA), which is not affiliated to any political party.Synthite has been operating in Kerala since 1972 and has the track record of being a largely ‘employee-friendly’ company.