Failing a labour conciliation in June 2015, the dismissed workers of the Diamond Engineering plant in Mambakkam began an indefinite hunger fast since November 12th. The 21 workers are relentless in their fast in spite of the persistent rains in Tamil Nadu. After 2 workers fainted on sunday and received treatment at hospital, the family of the workers braved the rains to do a road roko at Mambakkam. The police have intervened and assured to talk to management.
About 345 workers of the plant were dismissed and 27 workers face criminal charges after the workers struck work for recognition of union and better working conditions. The workers are organized under AICCTU. Their dispute was referred to the Labour Department in June. According to the order on the failure of resolution, the Labour Department has said that the management has not turned up for a single hearing on the dispute resolution raised under Section 2(A) of Industrial Disputes Act. Following this, the workers have filed a legal case with High Court.
In the mean time, the workers say that they have been denied access to public place to hold an indefinite hunger fast by the Thalambur Police Station. The police is said to have maintained that this will lead to a law and order problem. According to the workers, a judgement from the High Court ordered in favor of workers in September 2015, still did not move the police to ensure that workers’ right to protest was upheld. Instead, the workers say, the police gave permission to hold a hunger fast only between 6AM and 8PM, after which they were advised to continue their fast at homes, before assembling the next day.
After a protracted legal struggle, the workers finally received another judgement and police permission to hold indefinite hunger fast in Samathuvapuram, 1 km away from the plant. 21 workers including 2 north indian workers continue to protest against illegal retrenchment and false charges against them.