The striking workers and trade union leaders of Chowel India Limited, a company in Sriperumputhur near Chennai were arrested during the midnight of Sunday, May 19. The workers, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, were striking against the non disbursal of salary by the management.
The midnight arrest took place when the workers and trade union leaders protested against the move of a supplier to the company to seize the machinery for non-payment of dues towards purchase. The CITU Kancheepuram district President S Kannan, Secretary E Muthu Kumar along with 149 protesting workers were manhandled and arrested by the police.
Workers Fear Closure of Company by Management
The company functioning in the area since 2001 has been accused of exploiting the workers with more working time and lesser wages. The workers allege that they have not been paid their salary for the past several months and hence they were forced to strike work.
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In the mean time, the company has not paid the purchase dues to a supplier for purchase of machinery. The supplier had approached the court and obtained orders to seize the supplied machineries to which the workers opposed. Last night, the company with police protection tried to seize the machineries while the workers were continuing their strike outside the company.
CITU Leaders, Workers Attacked and Arrested
The CITU leaders arrived on the spot on information from the workers and protested against the move. The leaders claimed that the workers should be paid their hard-earned salary before any legal measure is implemented. They also allege that the management is planning to close down the company without considering the future of the workers.
The police resorted to manhandling the union leaders and the workers who photographed the happenings before arresting them. The CITU district secretary E Muthu Kumar has been remanded and is lodged in Kanchipuram prison. The workers alleged that the police are planning to remand 10 more workers who are also the office bearers of the union.
The Sriperumputhur area, now an automobile hub has been witnessing a number of protests by workers, the primary concerns of the workers being exploitation, lesser wages and job security. The working class is toiling hard to claim the legitimate rights while the multinational companies enjoy a free run exploiting the workers with the silent approval of the governments.
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