Gangtok, Feb 13
Aggrieved casual workers of Alembic Pharmaceutical Private Limited, Mamring-Samardung in South Sikkim have finally withdrawn their protest after getting the written assurance on their demands from the Labour Department and Alembic Pharmaceutical Company Limited. They were on dharna with their eight-point demands at in front of Labour Department head-office, Shram Bhawan here at Sokeythang from Monday evening.
It has to be mentioned here that on the second day of dharna on yesterday, Labour Department Secretary LB Chettri had assured aggrieved workers to call officials from the management of Alembic Pharmaceutical Private Limited today and to arrange meeting between representatives of the company, workers and the department.
On Wednesday morning meeting was called by the Secretary with company officials and representatives of aggrieved workers in the conference hall of the department. However, workers refused to go to the conference hall and insisted to hold the meeting at the spot of dharna in the presence of every aggrieved workers.
In the afternoon, the Secretary accompanied by other officials came down to apprise workers on decisions taken during a meeting on their demands with officials of the company. However, workers insisted the department to call both officials of the company on the spot and especially HR Manager, who later came down but refused to have the direct dialogue with workers and media on any issue.
“We are here in the invitation of the State government and we already discussed all issues and clear our stand to the department. The department will tell decisions taken in the meeting,” Mr Mukherjee said to media. He also added the company will take action according to the direction of the department.
On the occasion, workers placed their various grievances and issues directly to the officials of the company but they refused to speak on any issue. Later, the Secretary mentioned about various decisions taken in the meeting but workers demanded to give all decisions in the written format. Finally, at around 4 PM in the evening, the Secretary came down with the minutes of the meeting in written and apprised to aggrieved workers.
As per the minutes of the meeting, decisions on eight demands will be initiated by Labour Department and management of Alembic Pharmaceutical Company Limited as per the demand placed by protesting workers of the company.
It is informed that the company assured that the employees who were terminated by the company on disciplinary ground will be taken on their job after discussing and obtaining approval from the higher authorities of the company. The decisions regarding the terminated employees for taking back will be taken by the higher management and conveyed on 18 February.
On the revision of the minimum wages to Rs 20,000 per month, the department has assured to examine the demand and the Secretary also apprised that as per the norms of the government revision of the minimum wages was done in every two day and two years will be completed in July 2019.
On the demand for withdrawal of arrest warrant against the alleged workers, it has been decided that the management will withdraw the same on the first day of the hearing in the court as the case is already registered in the court by the Police Department. On the demand to abolish the Labour Contract System, the Secretary assured that the department will not renew the license of the present contractors from the new financial year.
With regard to ESIC facilities, the Secretary conveyed to the protesting workers that the department has already initiated for this and have received a copy of the notification from the Central government covering South District as ESIC District. The copy of the notification is passed on to the management of the Alembic Pharmaceutical Company Limited for immediate implementation, it is informed. On the demand for medical checkup atleast twice in a month, the Secretary stressed that the company should well inform all employees working in different sections in the factory in advance about the doctor visit.
On the demand for increase of the House Rent Allowance from Rs 600 to Rs 2000, the company apprised that they have recently increased the HRA of employees from Rs 300 to Rs 600. However, Assistant General Manager requested the Secretary to notify a rate of house rent by the government. On the same, Secretary assured to having a meeting with all pharmaceutical companies immediately to fix a uniform HRA rate and convey to all companies.
Speaking to media, aggrieved workers mentioned to withdraw the protest by believing on the assurance given by the Secretary. However, they asserted that if all assurance given in the minutes of the meeting would not be fulfilled and if there would be any harassment then to launch more aggressive movement. “We are hopeful that there would not be any harassment by the company now and if anything happen in the future then we would go legally,” they said. They also stressed that all pending issues falls under the jurisdiction of Labour Department should be addressed immediately as assured by the secretary in the interest of all workers in different units across the State.