Chennai: The workers of Asahi Glass India Limited have resorted to another strike after the management has refused to implement the decisions agreed to in conciliation talks after the 87-day strike which ended on June 19, 2019. The demands the management agreed to included reinstatement of 28 dismissed workers.
In fact, two more active members of the union have been suspended within two weeks this month, which workers have termed as a “victimisation” tactic to prevent any further protest from the workers. The workers accused the management of disrupting their peaceful protests by projecting these as violent, leading to intervention of the police.
The workers have resolved to continue the protest until justice is delivered, said the union, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
‘MANAGEMENT CONTINUING VICTIMISATION’
The workers of Asahi Glass India Limited began a demonstration in front of the plant from July 20 on their long- pending demands. Since the management was not willing to listen, the workers on duty began a sit-in protest inside the plant from July 22.
An office bearer of the union told NewsClick: “We protested peacefully from July 20, but the management was not ready to listen to our demands. This forced us to conduct a sit-in protest. Prior to the present protest, two union office-bearers were also suspended without any notice”.
The workers also alleged that the management is misinforming the police of the peaceful protests insisting on their demands. The police had intervened in the workers protest warning them of stern action if they continued the protest.
“Our protests have been and will continue to be peaceful, which can be verified through CCTV footage in the plant”, added an office-bearer of the union.
‘MANAGEMENT AGREED TO REVOKE TERMINATION’
The workers have been insisting that the management to reinstate workers who were dismissed in October 2018. A total of 28 workers were suspended in July 2017 for demanding regularisation of work and fair wages.
“The plant started functioning in 2004 and most of the dismissed workers were serving since the inception of the plant. When they resorted to strike, they were victimised. Following this, we went to the corporate office of the company in Delhi in January 2019, to raise the issue with the management. Even after waiting for 15 days, we were denied permission to present our case”, the office-bearer said.
The CITU decided to go on an indefinite strike from March 25, 2019, which ended on June 19, after 87 days. The conciliation talks held in the presence of the Kancheepuram district collector decided to repeal the termination of the workers and revise the wages. The management agreed to implement the same within six months.
‘REFUSING TO HOLD TALKS’
The workers have been demanding the implementation of the agreed terms of the conciliation talks, but the management has backtracked now, they allege.
“The six months’ time agreed during the conciliation talks ended in December 2019. Now the management is refusing to hold talks and claims that the top management has not agreed to implement the decisions taken. Even worse is the suspension of two more workers in the last couple of weeks without any valid reasons”, said a worker.
The wage revision talks are pending since the past two and a half years, resulting in the workers drawing low wages compared with their experience. The management has not taken into consideration the mental agony and financial turbulence of the dismissed workers, putting them under tremendous stress.
The amendments to labour laws announced by the Union government could further escalate the exploitation of the workers, the union said. The CITU has demanded the withdrawal of such reforms, including the increase in working hours.