Employees for and against stir face off before corporate headquarters
Tension prevailed for the larger part of the day in front of the corporate headquarters of Muthoot Finance on Banerjee Road here on Tuesday as employees divided over a strike at the non-banking financial company defended their respective stance.
A large posse of police personnel kept watch over the situation and prevented the situation from going out of control as managing director George Alexander Muthoot joined the employees opposing the strike. He staged a sit-in for the entire day.
The sloganeering tended to go out of control on occasions. However, the police did not step in to disperse the crowd and the striking employees, backed by a large number of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) members, decided to leave the strike venue around 4.30 p.m.
The problems started when around 350 employees at the corporate office came for work on Tuesday morning. They were prevented from entering the office by the striking employees, which ended in a stand-off.
While the striking employees demanded that the management honour an agreement on salaries and service conditions, their counterparts demanded their right to work. Their main plea was ‘Save Muthoot, Save Jobs’.
Nisha K. Jayan, an employee supporting the strike, claimed that the company management was “persecuting” the employees who had joined a CITU-affiliated trade union at the NBFC in 2016. She also said the employees launched the strike after serving a 14-day notice on the management but that the latter had described the strike illegal.
CITU leader K.N. Gopinath claimed that the management had not responded to repeated demands from the trade union for talks on wages and service conditions. He dismissed any claim that the trade union was trying to hinder the company’s business. He said the striking employees were not for closure of the company or hindering its business.
The company management said its business had taken a big hit during repeated bouts of strike over the past two years and that the company’s wage structure was perhaps the best in the industry.
Minister to chair meet
Labour Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan will hold a meeting of representatives of the striking employees at Muthoot Finance and the company management in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
Muthoot Finance managing director George Alexander Muthoot told a press conference here that it was not sure if he would be able to attend the meet as he had to be in Kochi as there was a threat of continued strike at the corporate office and he had to be with his employees.