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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Jobs lost: for union,crisis or absence?

Amol Sabale,who finished his training as a welder with Stocota Pvt Ltd,a unit on Chakan-Talegaon Road,soon found himself out of work.

Written by Ranjani Raghavan | Pune |
February 9, 2009 12:14:28 am

Amol Sabale,who finished his training as a welder with Stocota Pvt Ltd,a unit on Chakan-Talegaon Road,soon found himself out of work. Sabale says the reason he and around 40 others were given for termination of their services was “arthik mandi” or economic slowdown.

The workers,who have waging a battle since,allege that the real reason is that they had dared to float a workers’ union. “We had formed the union on September 29,which the company refused to acknowledge despite several notifications. After Diwali,they removed us citing the global slowdown as reason. But they hired a new set of workers,” said Sabale.

The company dismissed both reasons. “The workers remained absent. We removed them because of that. Our officers,including the MD,asked them several times to get to work,but they remained absent,” said HR manager Shailendra Gaikwad.

The workers allege that they got neither severance pay nor the opportunity to serve a notice period. After approaching the labour commissionerate to intervene,the workers last month filed a case with the industrial court.

The workers said the company paid no heed to the labour commisssionerate,which compelled them to go to court.

“After forming the union,we approached the company several times to discuss worker issues. There were many safety aspects and worker benefits that the union wanted to discuss. The company not only refused to acknowledge the union but also stopped workers from coming to work,” alleged Raghunath Kuchik,secretary of the Bharatiya Kamgar Sena.

Assistant labour commissioner Sambhaji Kakade agreed that there was a dispute over the termination of services. “We called meetings several times,but the management did not show up,” said Kakade.

Lawyers dealing with cases at the industrial court said retrenchment of workers for forming unions was a regular feature. “Many cases don’t get reported,but nearly 60 per cent of the cases at the industrial court revolves around this,” said advocate Santosh Mhaske.

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