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PRICOL agitation: As employees remain jobless, tiff between workers, management continues

Of the 302 workers who were given the transfer order, one died and nine others took up the job. This has left the fate of 292 workers hanging in the balance.

Published: 02nd October 2019 09:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd October 2019 09:45 AM   |  A+A-

protest

For representational purposes

Express News Service

COIMBATORE: While as many as 292 workers at PRICOL have been rendered jobless for over a year now, the impasse between one of the workers' associations and the management remains.

With the subject still pending in court, officials have said that there is little they can do until workers agree to an out-of-court settlement.

Of the 302 workers who were given the transfer order, one died and nine others took up the job. This has left the fate of 292 workers hanging in the balance.

From the time of the first protest till now, it has been more than a year of the workers not being paid. With many of them being the primary breadwinners of the family, 13 months of not having a job has had a drastic effect on each of their families.

However, the workers continue to stand by the association, Coimbatore District PRICOL Workers Unity Association (affiliated to AICCTU) and hope to win the legal battle, says association President P Natarajan.

However, the management does not seem to agree with him. A top official says that all the workers have lost hope in the association and its ability to get them out of this stalemate.

Even on Sunday, more than 50 workers of the association had a heated argument with its office-bearers, the official claims.

"Seven workers approached us for full settlement. We have told them that with the case pending before the court, unless they declare that they will settle with the management, we cannot do anything," the official explains.

Trouble began for a section of workers when those in the association staged a one-day strike on August 14, 2018, to push for a salary hike.

When they returned to work two days later, the management is said to have partially locked out 144 of them.

Condemning this decision, hundreds of worker began an indefinite strike on August 21. After several rounds of peace talks and negotiations, a settlement was in hand and the protestors returned to work after a period of 100 days.

While the management had assured the Labour department that it would not take punitive action against the workers who had been involved in the protest, it transferred 302 of them to its manufacturing units outside Tamil Nadu.

The official stand was that this was because the Coimbatore units were receiving fewer work orders and hence the workers were being moved to places that needed more manpower. However, the workers' association moved the court against the decision and obtained a stay order.

Yet, the management made no change to the orders issued. Though the court directed the government to ensure that all workers were given jobs at the place they have working all these years, the management made no such effort. Hence, the workers took to the court again. The matter is still sub-judice.

On Monday, a group of workers led by one M Jayaprakash Narayanan met Collector K Rajamani and requested for the district administration's intervention to find a speedy solution to their problem.



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