Ram Naresh (58) has worked at the painting/finishing division of the Atlas Cycles factory in Ghaziabad for the last 20 years. With the factory’s average output of 1.5 lakh products a month, Naresh’s skilled hands have given final touches to over lakhs of bicycles. Despite the years of service, he found himself “laid off” without prior notice.
“I don’t know where to go from here. We have given our lives to this company… Either we stay here and die of hunger or we go back to our villages. We are ruined,” said Naresh, who hails from UP’s Gorakhpur. He is among the 800 workers laid off.
On Wednesday, which also happened to be World Bicycle Day, a notice was put up outside the premises of the Atlas factory in Sahibabad’s Site IV, which stated, “As employees are well aware, the company has been going through financial losses for the past several years. The company has exhausted its resources and there is no source of income. There are not enough funds for daily expenses either. Till the time a source of income is available, raw material will not be purchased. As a result, the factory cannot function till finances are sorted out. Hence a ‘lay off’ has been announced. To avail monetary compensation, they (employees) must punch-in at given start time of their duty.”
Workers claimed the company has not provided them any official document stating their termination. They were asked to punch-in their attendance, which will merit them to half their salaries. They claim they completed regular work hours on June 1 and 2, and were informed of the notice when they reached the premises on Wednesday.
Started in 1951, Atlas Cycles has set-ups in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh apart from Ghaziabad, where manufacturing was carried out in seven divisions. The company claims to manufacture 4 million cycles a year.
Workers alleged production had come down from 2.5 lakh cycles to 1.5 lakh cycles a month last year. The company did not respond to a mail by The Indian Express seeking a comment.
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