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Basumati staff refuse ERS,Buddha looks for answers

Not one of the 212 employees of the Basumati Corporation-a government-run publishing house that has been bringing out a Bengali newspaper since 1880 but now faces closure as part of industrial restructuring...

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata |
March 1, 2009 5:16:20 am

Not one of the 212 employees of the Basumati Corporation — a government-run publishing house that has been bringing out a Bengali newspaper since 1880 but now faces closure as part of industrial restructuring — has applied for Early Retirement Scheme (ERS) even as the deadline for doing so lapsed on Saturday.

In a notice put up at the factory site on November 18 last year,the state government had offered ERS to all its 212 employees,who were told earlier they would not get salaries from April 2009.

Basumati Corporation Ltd,a moribund state PSU,has an accumulated loss of over Rs 80 crore. “We don’t know what to do. We sought directive from the chief minister but he is undecided over the issue for the last 15 days. At the end of March,we will ask him whether we have to pay salary to the Basumati staff in April too,” a senior government official said.

Basumati is one of two sick PSUs — the other one is West Bengal Projects Ltd — which are going to be closed down in the second phase of “industrial restructuring” the state government has undertaken with financial assistance from the UK.

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“There were some employees who were willing to go for ERS,but we convinced them not do so. We will have to be united. The government took the decision without consulting us. They are indulging in election politics by hiking the salaries of government employees. But they are not doing anything for us. We will fight against this,” said Mihir Chakrabarthy,vice-president,Basumati Corporation Employees’ Union affiliated with the CITU. “The workers have made their stance clear. Now,the government will have to take a decision. We hope they will reconsider,” CITU state unit president Kali Ghosh said.

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had also said her party would fight the sell-out of the publication house.

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