Updated: December 6, 2021 9:39:43 pm
Around 130 contractual employees of the Indian Telephone Industries Limited (ITI) have been agitating against the company after they were terminated from service on Wednesday morning, said union leaders here.
The ITI is a public sector undertaking (PSU) company headquartered in Bengaluru under the Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Communication, Government of India. The terminated employees have been staging protests in front of the main gate of the company in KR Puram.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Maitreyi Krishnan from the Karnataka General Labour Union (KGLU) said: “Workers of the ITI who have been working for the past 5-35 years were arbitrarily stopped on 1 December for the sole reason that they had formed a union and filed disputes against the management of the ITI. Ever since, they have been protesting peacefully outside the factory demanding that they be allowed to rejoin work.”
The KGLU alleged that on Monday the company didn’t allow the workers to observe Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Mahaparinirvan Dina. “The ITI authorities have locked all the gates and are not permitting anyone to enter the campus. The workers have been thrown out and are not even being allowed to protest peacefully. The workers were intending to observe Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Mahaparinirvan day today and have been stopped in this manner,” Maitreyi said.
“The ITI claims that a new contractor has been employed, but has provided no reason as to why these workers are being refused employment. Women and men who have worked for decades were prevented by security from entering the premises,” Maitreyi added.
Hemanth, a quality assurance engineer who is among the terminated workers, said, “The company is objecting to our move to form unions. On Wednesday, Regional Labour Commissioner Antony Sebastian had a meeting with us and he advised the company not to terminate us. But so far we have not been permitted to enter the campus.”
Another worker, Palani, who has been working with the ITI since April 2016, said: “After these many years, the ITI has thrown us out saying that they have no relation with us. They are happy to benefit from our work, but not to recognise us as workers. I was sent to Punjab and Uttarakhand by the company. We work for 12 to 13 hours and are paid for eight hours. Now they want us to be replaced.”
Indianexpress.com tried to reach the ITI authorities for their response on the issue but our calls went unanswered.
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