Factory owners buckle under pressure – Locked out mills to start from June 3
New Delhi, June 2. Workers in Gorakhpur achieved a major victory in their struggle when the factory owners agreed to start the two locked out mills from June 3 and take back the dismissed workers. 12 of the 18 workers will join work immediately and the remaining 6 will be taken back after a domestic enquiry. The workers also forced the owners to accept that no one from the management will be in the enquiry committee; it will have two members from the office staff and one workers’ nominee.
The decision was taken at negotiations held till late night at the district magistrate’s residence. The two owners of the VN Dyers and Processors yarn mill and textile mill, the district magistrate and deputy labour commissioner and seven workers’ representatives were present at the meeting.
These two mills in the Bargadwa area of Gorakhpur were illegally locked out since April 10. Around 500 workers work in both of these mills owned by the Ajitsaria family having an annual turnover of more than 150 crores. 18 workers of these two mills were dismissed by the owners. The workers were agitating for reinstatement of their colleagues and restarting the factories.
The workers of Ankur Udyog Ltd., a factory in the Bargadwa industrial area in Gorakhpur, eastern UP were attacked by goons called by the factory owner the morning of 3 May. At least seven workers were seriously injured in firing by the goons. Apparently, the factory owners of Gorakhpur have been very angry with the workers for attending the May Day rally at Jantar Mantar, Delhi and one of them suspended 18 workers as soon as they went to resume work. The workers protested against this and the factory owner sent hired goons who fired on the workers injuring 19 of them. The workers had cornered the goons inside the factory but the police came and took them away and let them free. FIRs have been registered from both sides.
As the tension and repression of the factory owners and the district administration mounts, the workers have planned to go on Satyagraha from May 8 (tomorrow) and the administration is determined to not let it happen. We have received messages saying that trade union organizers fear for the life and safety of the workers and their leaders. The voice of protests from many forums and due to the incident being covered by the local media, the administration has refrained from taking any one sided action till now. But conspiracies are being hatched behind the scenes. Its not a distant reality that the leaders might be killed in fake encounters, or slapped with false charges or lynched by mobs instigated by the factory owners or Adityanath’s goons.