THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Normalcy restored at the Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (Milma) after the protesting unions withdrew their strike on Thursday. The decision was taken at the meeting convened under the labour commissioner, the management of Milma and the trade unions.
The unions withdrew strike after getting assurance that their demands would be given consideration in a meeting to be held by Minister of Dairy Development K C Joseph and Minister of Co-operation C N Balakrishnan on December 16.
The decision to go with strike had attracted criticism of Joseph and Milma chairman P T Gopala Kurup. Joseph called up the union leaders and requested them to withdraw from strike. He later issued a statement that the strike would only result in the destruction of diary industry where the farmers were facing a price crash.
Kurup, flanked by managing director Swagat Bhandari and regional chairmen from Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Malabar, held a press meet before the talks with unions. Kurup said decisions on the demands raised by unions - increasing pension age to 60 and forming welfare fund for employees - could not be taken in a hurry. He pointed out that a sub committee had been appointed to study the issues. “Milma is in support of union’s demand for implementing cooperative pension. The delay was only because a few section of employees wanted to retain the existing PF pension,” said Kurup.
Terming the cooperative federation a top paying employer in the sector, Chairman said he could not agree with the third demand for diverting milk price hike to welfare fund.