The ongoing strike in the textile industry in Ahmedabad is set to get murkier. Even as the Textile Labour Association (TLA) re-initiated negotiations with Ahmedabad Textile Mills Association (ATMA), the striking workers of four textile mills have threatened to involve workers from other mills if their demands for interim relief of Rs 1,600 per month are not met by Wednesday.
Earlier, pacifying the striking workers for their flat 40 per cent wage hike, TLA had assured an interim relief of Rs 1,600 per month till a decision was taken in the industrial court which is hearing TLA's case against ATMA. Further, the labourers' association had also sought the striking worker's support for re-initiating negotiations with ATMA, which represents several textile mills in the city.
However, with a decision still pending in the court, around 8,000 striking workers from four mills have demanded being re-inducted by their respective employers as well as interim relief of Rs 1,600 per month on an immediate basis. The four mills include , including Arvind, Ankur, Ashima and Asarwa.
"We had been assured an interim relief of Rs 1,600 per month by TLA till a decision by the industrial court was arrived at. We had, therefore, approved TLA as our representative again to reinitiate wage negotiations with ATMA. However, things are getting delayed further day-by-day. Therefore, we have given TLA an ultimatum of Wednesday for meeting our demands of interim relief as well as being re-inducted at our respective workplaces," said Yashpal Jaiswal, striking workers' union leader at Arvind Ltd.'s Naroda denim plant. If not met by Wednesday, Jaiswal said, "We will instigate workers from rest of the textile mills under ATMA to go on strike and will demand nothing less than 40 per cent wage hike. Moreover, we will also not accept any interim relief amount as well."
When contacted, Amar Barot, general secretary of TLA said that the association has received a communique in this regard from the striking workers. "Striking workers' union from all the four mills have approached us and have demanded an interim relief on an immediate basis. However, we cannot begin negotiations with ATMA until over 400 such striking workers agree to re-appoint us as their representatives which is still in process," said Barot. It needs to be mentioned here that what began as a standalone strike at Arvind's Naroda denim plant in Ahmedabad on June 4, 2012 spread to three other mills, with now over 8,000 workers on strike. The textile mill members of ATMA jointly employ over 12,000 workers on the shop floor.