KOCHI: As the deadlock over the strike at the Synthite Industries' plant at Kadayiruppu, Kolencherry by a section of CITU workers continued on Thursday, Labour Commissioner A Alexander has convened mediatory talks here on Saturday to settle the dispute. The conciliatory meeting will be held at the Guest House here.
The CITU-affiliated Synthite Industries Employees' Union has been staging a protest in front of the plant after seven of its members were transferred by the company.
Meanwhile, the Synthite management has dubbed the CITU-led march held on Friday as "anti-worker in all respects". Coming in the wake of an ongoing sit in strike at its Kolenchery plant – Synthite, in a statement here, said the livelihood of its employees are threatened due to the current impasse.
The management said it is unfortunate these activities are taking place close on the heels of Chief Minister’s statement underscoring Kerala's USP as an 'investor- friendly' state. Synthite has been operating in Kerala since 1972 and has the track record of being a 'employee-friendly' company.
Seeing the irony of the situation, the management sought the help of even the Chief Minister’s Office to resolve the crisis, the release said.
K S Arunkumar, Synthite Industries Employees' Union (CITU) president, told Express they will call off the strike only if the management cancels the transfer of seven of its union members including Anu Raj, joint secretary of the CITU-affiliated union. He alleged the company had transferred the seven for establishing the union in December last. "The company has no transfer policy, though people used to be sent on deputation to other places," he said.
He said the management raised the wages for the casual labourers from `240 to `285 daily in January only after the establishment of the union.
The management also started to provide `3,000 as incentives following demand from the union.
The company, however, said a majority of the workers are against a politically affiliated union.
The Synthite Employees' Welfare Association (SEWA), which is not affiliated to any political party, represents 80 per cent of the 500 workers at the Synthite’s Kadayiruppu unit.
To show their solidarity with the Synthite Management – SEWA members took out a silent march last Wednesday (April 18).
SEWA trashes CITU's claim
Jayan R, SEWA secretary, contested all the points raised by Arunkumar. "That the company had not transferred anyone till now is wrong. I myself was transferred to the company's Ongole plant in Andhra Pradesh, where I served for one-and-a-half years," Jayan said. On the CITU union's claim the management hiked the wages only after the union intervened, Jayan said Synthite MD Viju Jacob had promised to increase the wages even before the setting up of the CITU union in December. "The management was only fulfilling its earlier promise. It is wrong to assume the management raised the wages after arm twisting by the CITU union," he said. Jayan said Sewa has the allegiance of 352 of the 480-490 workmen employed by the company.