Dismissal of contract workers ends in tragedy

Worker commits suicide in wake of retrenchment at OMAX Factory

Ajay Pandey, a 35 year old contract worker from Bihar, who until recently worked at OMAX manufacturing factory in Dharuhera committed suicide on 13th February after he along with 388 other contract workers were laid off on February 1st. Average age of the workers who were dismissed was 40 and most of them had worked in the company for 15 to 20 years. However such longevity counted for nothing as workers found themselves unemployed on February 1st.

The management had refused to take any responsibility for his death and even said that Ajay was unwell for a long time (thus blaming his suicide on mental illness). However after the Autopsy, other contract workers who were sacked on February first paraded Ajay’s body outside the OMAX factory. They were joined by other workers from Rico Autofit, as well as Daikin. They refused to take Ajay’s body for cremation until there demands were met.

Permanent workers also protested inside the factory gate and their union (HMS) declared a strike on 14th February. Workers demands were compensation for the family of Ajay Pandey who is survived by a wife and 2 young children in Bihar as well as action against management and contractors. A complaint has already been registered against the management in Dharuhera Police station.

Negotiations between the union and management went on till 1.00 AM on 15th morning at the end of which management agreed to give compensation of 5.5 Lakhs to Ajay’s family. They assured contract workers that the negotiation of taking remaining retrenched workers will begin immediately. It was only after this that workers have agreed to take the body for cremation today. Union has called off the strike and production will continue.

OMAX, a component manufacturing company which supplies almost 90 percent of component to Hero Motocorps (along with supplying parts to many other companies like Honda 2 wheeler as well as Yamaha) was in news for workers unrest in 2014. There was a labour unrest in the factory as management did not agree to workers demand of wage increase after three years and accused the workers of slowing down production.

We cannot help but recall that it was only last month when Hero Motocorp laid off nearly 1000 contract workers citing adverse affect of Modi’s Surgical strike on toiling masses called demonetization.

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