A section of workers at the textile unit of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in Naroda continued their strike for the second day on Friday,even as police reportedly arrested three of them for unlawful assembly. About 1,000 workers,demanding higher wages,protested outside the unit,which is RILs first manufacturing facility,known for its Vimal brand of products.
Police have been pressuring us to call off our strike. They are constantly threatening to lathi-charge us. There are about 1,000 workers who are striking work today, said Sagar Patil,general secretary of the Reliance Employees Union. He claimed that police have arrested three of their senior colleagues.
The workers have been demanding a 60-per cent hike in wages and 20 per cent bonus. For the last five years,there has been no increase in the wages for workers, Patil told The Indian Express.
While an email sent to the company spokesperson seeking reaction on the issues surrounding the strike remained unanswered,police in Ahmedabad said a group of protesting workers had prevented co-workers from entering the factory and got into a minor scuffle.
The company,in a statement issued on Thursday,hinted at an official circular banning the use of mobile phones inside the plant as a possible reason for the unrest. We had,keeping in mind safety of our workers at the shop floor of Naroda Unit,issued a circular disallowing usage of mobile phone inside the plant. Following queries by certain employees,we had deferred the implementation of the stated policy. We are in a dialogue with the union leaders to enhance safety of workers on the shop floor. In the meanwhile,operations are continuing peacefully at the plant, read the statement.
Workers,however,claimed the unit was forced to shut operations due to the strike. There are nobody inside (the unit). Who do you think is working? Patel said.
The complex at Naroda,which represents the largest investment in the textile industry at a single location (as per the companys website),manufactures and markets woven and knitted fabrics for home textiles,synthetic and worsted suiting and shirting,ready-to-wear garments and automotive fabrics. The unit was set up in 1966 with four warp knitting machines and 68 people.
Dhirubhai memorial opens to public
The protest on Friday coincided with the inauguration of a memorial dedicated to the Reliance Group founder,Dhirubhai Ambani,at Chorwad town in Junagadh district. Dhirubhais wife Kokilaben and the group president (corporate affairs) of Reliance Industries Limited,Parimal Nathwani,were part of the event.
The memorial contains a pictorial gallery in two sections. The first showcases family pictures while the second depicts Dhirubhais professional achievements. It also houses Dhirubhais childhood home. The memorial will function under the auspices of Dhirubhai Ambani Foundation.