Chennai: The management of Royal Enfield’s Oragadam plant near Chennai is leaving no stone unturned to browbeat over 500 employees who went on a 10-day strike on February 16 seeking their basic right to unionise and be recognised.
Not only has the management refused to recognise the union, it has also victimised some union leaders and is going for all-out witch-hunting, as per some union leaders who have borne brunt of these measure.
As a punitive measure, the general secretary of the registered union, the 'Royal Enfield Employees Union', in the Oragadam plant has reportedly been transferred to another plant, union sources said.
The union members claimed that it was because of such intimidating tactics that employees were forced take the last resort of going on strike.
"We issued a strike notice on February 12 to the management and on the very same day, the management started threatening the workers who were in the forefront of the union activities”, said a worker of the plant on condition of anonymity.
He said the workers had fought for permanent employment in the past. “But, when we re-joined after an assurance that our demands were being met, we had to face police action on directions from the management even though our protests were peaceful”, he added.
The workers said that even as they ended their strike after assurances from the management, about 40 trainees are reportedly being dismissed without being served any show-cause notice, and three office bearers of the union, including the General Secretary, are being transferred to plants in Rajasthan and West Bengal.
E.Muthu Kumar, the Kanchipuram District Secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said, “Most of multinational companies functioning in the area refuse to accept the formation of trade unions. The 50-day-long strike last year came to an end after the management accepted the demands of the employees in the areas of wage revision and permanent employment to did not keep its promises”.
As of now, the transferred and suspended permanent workers are exploring possibilities to get themselves reinstated while the trainee employees continue to suffer the high-handedness of the management. Amid all this, the state government remains a mute spectator.
Commenting on the state of affairs, a union leader said this was in keeping with the trend followed by multinational companies, who in the name of Special Economic Zones, continue to deny basic rights of workers and continue to exploit them.