KOCHI: Tension prevailed for hours on Banerjee Road in Kochi in front of the head office of Muthoot Finance Ltd on Tuesday when the managing director of the gold loan company staged a sit-in protest against the strike called by a section of employees under the banner of CITU alleging that they were not allowing other staff members to work.
CITU-backed Non-Banking and Private Finance Employees Association had been laying siege to the office, seeking wage hike and other demands. Meanwhile, hundreds of employees carrying placards reading ‘right to work’ also protested demanding entry.
Dramatic scenes unfolded when MD George Alexander Muthoot joined them and sat down, demanding the protesters to allow other employees to enter the office. After they were denied entry, a few employees approached the police. When they tried to enter with police security, the agitators stopped them, leading to an altercation.
However, a team led by Ernakulam Central Circle Inspector S Vijay Shankar reached the spot and managed the situation. As tension prevailed after both groups raised slogans, the police tightened the security cover.
About 350 employees are working at the head office of Muthoot Finance Ltd and the majority of them turned up for work on Tuesday morning. According to George, the strike was part of a planned move to shut down the branches of Muthoot Finance.
“This has been continuing for the past two years. The strike is unnecessary and the majority of the employees are not part of this. If this strike continues, we are forced to close down branches across Kerala,” he told reporters here.
Meanwhile, protesters alleged that they have been victimised by the management for forming a union - Muthoot Finance Employees’ Union (MFEU) - and they have been staging an agitation against the company since August 20 demanding revision of wage structure and recognition of the union.
“The management has not even implemented the demands they had agreed to after our strike in 2018. We had staged a protest in front of the head office for the first time and did not disrupt the functioning of any other branches earlier. They have not disbursed salary for the month of August so far. Besides, we have no bonus and other perks,” said Jisha K Jayan, an employee. CITU state secretary KN Gopinath, who inaugurated the strike, claimed that a majority of the staff across the state is part of the union.
“The ongoing protest is to save the families of hundreds of employees. The situation worsened following the adamant stand of the management,” he added.