After around 34 workers were shown the door by textile major Arvind Ltd and its group mill Ankur, the workers have knocked the door of their representative Textile Labour Association (TLA), or Majoor Mahajan as it is locally known. The workers have staged a dharna and have been demanding to be taken back to work at Arvind and Ankur Mills' factory premises.
The 34-odd workers, who were part of last year's strike at Arvind's Naroda plant, allege the textile conglomerate sacked them despite assuring TLA that it would induct them.
"When the strike ended at Arvind and Ankur's plants last year, the textile group had assured TLA that while only 6-7 workers were being sacked, rest of the workers will be taken back on work. However, in the following weeks, Arvind sacked around 23 of us while Ankur sacked 11 of us stating that we were equally responsible for the strike. In that case, the entire workforce is responsible for the strike. Hence, either Arvind should take us back or sack rest of its workforce," said Jignesh Patel, one of the sacked workers.
However, when contacted, Sanjay Lalbhai, chairman and managing director of Arvind Limited said, "It is only after doing proper enquiries and thorough investigation that we found that these workers were also equally responsible in last year's illegal strike and causing losses to their company. Hence, they have been sacked and will not be taken back to work. Moreover, we are now taking the legal route and only the court will decide in this matter."
What's more, while the company is unrelenting, three major office bearers from TLA have resigned since the association couldn't get the 34-odd workers back in plant.
"The office bearer recently had a meeting with the Arvind and Ankur management. However, since they couldn't convince the management to take us back, they have resigned from their respective posts," said Patel. The TLA office bearers were not available for a comment.
On June 4, 2012, around 200 workers at Arvind's Naroda plant went on a strike. The plant, which employs 3,400 workers, and primarily produces denim fabrics, later saw over 3,000 workers joining the strike, followed by similar strikes at Ankur, Ashima and Asarwa mills in the city.
The strike went on for about four weeks before the workers had called ift off demanding an immediate 40 per cent wage hike despite TLA having filed a petition against Ahmedabad Textile Mills Association (ATMA) in an industrial court in October 2011 for the same.
Later Arvind, ATMA, TLA and the striking workers settled for a wage hike of about Rs 2000 per month.
However, a few workers who acted as leaders during the strike were terminated for instigating the same.