VIZIANAGARAM: Putting the future of 3,000-odd workers, including 1,500 permanent employees, in jeopardy and giving them a rude shock before Sankranti, the management of Nellimarla Jute Mills Company Limited declared lockout on Thursday.
Workers who went to the mill after taking part in the two-day nationwide strike called by the Central trade unions, were in for a shock seeing the lockout notice pasted on the main gate. The mill management claimed that drop in production and worker indiscipline forced it to declare the lockout.
In the lockout notice, the mill management stated that the machinery was lying idle due to rampant absenteeism of workers, which resulted in slump in production. During the lockout period, the mill workers will not get any wages. Tension prevailed at the jute mill when hundreds of workers staged a protest denouncing the lockout. However, no one from the management was present and efforts to contact the mill owners proved futile.
It is not for the first time, the management declared lockout of the jute mill established in 1912. The mill had been locked out eight times since 1989. Taking the issue seriously, trade union leaders of the jute mill convened an emergency meeting on Friday to chalk out the future course of action to safeguard the interests of workers.
Jute Mill Workers Association leaders Timanani Appa Rao and Ganta Papa Rao flayed the mill management for declaring lockout without any prior notice. They alleged that the management declared lockout on the pretext of non-viability to get some incentives from the State government before elections.