Here are updates from worker struggles in Texcel International, Comstar, Magick Woods, Spel semiconductor, JBM and CMR Toyotsu.
12 hour work shift for permanent workers in Texcel International Pvt Ltd
Texcel International in Maraimalai Nagar announced a voluntary retirement scheme of Rs 1 lakh for for permanent workers. Out of 78 workers, 41 workers opted for the VRS and 37 workers continue to fight for their work. A writ petition in the high court resulted in favor of the workers to to continue their employment. However the union says that the management has asked the workers to come at 3AM. Workers are given 4 hours of employment and asked to take a break of 4 hours before the next 4 hour work. With no transport provided by the management, the workers are being forced to spend more than 14 hours on work. A petition regarding this to the Labour Department has resulted in a failure notice and the union is planning to appeal in labour court. The PF has not been paid and the union is pursuing the case of PF default by the management.
26 permanent workers in VRS discussion with Comstar management
36 comstar workers from SST department were isolated and mentally harassed after permanent workers struck work in 2011. While 10 workers had opted for alternate employment and voluntary retirement scheme, 26 workers continued for proper employment with the factory. Now the management is said to be offering them Rs 23 lakhs as compensation for leaving employment. According to union representatives, while some workers are demanding Rs 26 lakhs, the management is not willing to concede more. In 2015, there was a Employee Relations Committee(ERC) elected in the company for conducting wage negotiations. According to Comstar Union, members of union contested and won 4 out of 5 representatives. The Comstar Management is said to have proposed demands regarding the SST department workers which was opposed by the ERC members. In 2015, the management had also announced a VRS scheme for permanent workers and over 100 workers including 20+ women workers had accepted VRS, according to a worker in the factory.*
27 workers opt for VRS in Magick Woods
Magick Woods, a furniture company with 48 permanent workers and 350+ contract workers was facing legal action by the union when it did not pay minimum wage for workers. While employment of 4 workers had been terminated, the company refused to recognize the union and opted to sign individual wage agreement with the workers under Section 18(1) of Industrial Disputes Act. While 21 workers had signed the agreement, majority of the workers had demanded negotiation with the union. The management has instead offered either an option of VRS of Rs 3 to 5 lakhs or continued employment provided the case against the management is withdrawn and the workers do not join the union. As per the union, 27 workers have opted to take the VRS while 21 workers are continuing employment with the company conceding to the management demands.
SPEL Semiconductor permanent workers join INTUC union
The permanent workers in SPEL have joined INTUC union. The SPEL management is said to have given a retrenchment notice to reduce 137 workers which was opposed by INTUC and has been denied by the Labour Department. The dismissal of 147 workers who were dismissed during earlier strikes is still being heard in labour court.
JBM dismisses 23 workers
JBM, an auxiliary unit to Ford India based in Maraimalai Nagar had transferred 20+ workers to other locations for unionising activities. Since then, the management has dismissed 23 workers and a petition has been filed in Labour Department.
CMR Toyotsu workers withdraw strike, management locks out the permanent workers
Over 19 permanent workers were on strike for more than 2 months after the management refused to recognise the union and transferred the union representatives to factories in the North. The workers are pursuing the case in Labour Department and will appeal to Labour Court as there has been no progress in the negotiations in Labour Department and have decided to withdraw the strike. However, the management has not taken the workers back and has locked out the permanent workers. The workers have petitioned the ACL but the management has not appeared for the last two hearings.
*Errata fixed in the section – Number of workers and those who are negotiating the deal has been updated. New details added about VRS for permanent workers and the election of ERC.