L&T’s sacked contract workers start sit-in agitation

Ahead of Diwali, hundreds of contract workers sacked by the Larsen & Toubro’s defence production plant in Maharashtra’s Talegaon last year, have started a ‘sit-in’ agitation outside the Pune Labour Commissionerate for reinstatement, salaries and other demands, officials said here on Thursday.

The contractual labourers, number over 250, whose services were terminated abruptly in October. 2021, are members of the Bharatiya Kamgar Sena (BKS) and are on a warpath accusing the L&T-appointed contractors of harassment at work-place, unfair labour practices like transfers and terminations, denial of salaries or Diwali bonus.

“The problems started after they decided to join the BKS last year… Attempting to break their unity, the contractor and the company connived to transfer many workers to far-off places outside Maharashtra, which we have strongly opposed,” BKS General Secretary Dr. Raghunath Kuchik said.

Since the past one year, they have been denied their salaries, bonus and other emoluments promised to them, by both the contractors and L&T, which is the ‘principal employer’, said Dr. Kuchik, who is also a Deputy Leader of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) party.

On Thursday, the BKS representatives met the Labour Commissionerate officials who have summoned the L&T top executives from Mumbai on October 31 to resolve the issue.

When contacted, Assistant Labour Commissioner Pravin Jadhav said that the company, L&T through its contractors had indulged in certain “unfair labour practices” including indiscriminate transfers of contract workers to far-off locations, besides other issues which are being investigated in detail.

“Moreover, the L&T and its contractors have not fully implemented the interim orders of the Pune Labour Court in March-April owing to some miscommunication, but the Labour Commissionerate is taking all steps to resolve the issue amicably,” Jadhav added.

Among the sacked contract workers’ demands are reinstatement at their original workplaces, payment of full back-wages and other benefits for the past 12 months, full implementation of the Labour Court’s directives in March 14 and April 12 (2022).

An internal probe report of the Labour Commissionerate has pointed a needle of suspicion at the L&T allegedly for failing to comply with the court’s directives, not sticking to the commitments made in at least 8 joint meetings conducted by the Commissionerate officials which has vitiated the industrial atmosphere here.

Despite several attempts by IANS, the company officials were not available to give their version in the matter.

On his part, Kuchik pointed out that the L&T unit is engaged in defence production for which is making huge profits and not doing charitable work, so it is their duty to ensure that the contract workers are properly compensated for their labour.

The BKS leader slammed the L&T for being ‘insensitive’ towards the plight of its own poor contract labourers, trying to crush their rights to unionise by transfers or sackings, denying them their rightful payments due for one year, and called upon the company to give justice on priority or the sit-in agitation will be carried out indefinitely.

20221020-173803

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