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Strike hits MRF plants in TN, Puducherry

By BS Reporter in Chennai
May 11, 2009 18:20 IST
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Production at Arakkonam, which produces motor tyres and tubes, and at the radial tyre-manufacturing unit of MRF at Puducherry has been hit following a sit-in strike by over 3,000 workers in both the units, according to union sources. Employees also decided to boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

T V Paramasivam, president, MRF United Workers Union, affiliated with United Labour Federation told Business Standard that a strike was declared since workers demand were not met.

Demand include reinstatement of around 250 workers most of whom have been dismissed following unionisation, recognising the union and company should come forward to discuss about the wage revision with the union.

He added, the workers at the 13-year-old plant have continued to be on probation or training, and on daily wages since the plant's commencement.

The pay averages at around Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per month on daily wages, and the workers are demanding wage scales on par with the Chennai plant where the salary is around Rs 19,000, sources said.

He added, till May 8 company did not come for dialogue after the labour department's direction the tyre manufacturer came for tri-party meeting including union representatives, management and labour department which was held at Chennai today "but it was also failed".

It may be recalled that the management has declared lock out at the Company's Manufacturing Plant at Arakkonam from December 17, 2008 to December 19, 2008 on account of labour unrest in the factory. Similarly, in Puducherry which was lifted on February 26, 2009.

Meanwhile, the workers in both the plants has decided to boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha election which is scheduled for May 13 in Tamil Nadu. Union representatives claim they have over 70,000 votes at Arakaonam and Pondicherry. They said they will not support any political party since none of them came forward to help them.

While the company officials were not available for comment on the strike and the impact on the production, Paramasivam said that Arakonam facility produce 26,000 tyres and 42,000 tubes a day, while Pondicherry unit produce 10,500 tyres.

The company has reported a 4 per cent increase in its net profit during the quarter ended March 31, 2009, which stood at Rs 68.69 crore (Rs 686.9 million) as compared to Rs 65.62 crore (Rs 656.2 million) a year ago.

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BS Reporter in Chennai
Source: source