The large-scale arson and violence by striking-workers at the Yanam plant of Regency Ceramics, which led to the killing of the company's President (Operations and Maintenance) K. C. Chandrasekhar and union leader Murali Mohan, have sent shockwaves across India Inc.
“We are yet to assess the extensive damage to the plant, though given the magnitude of destruction of machinery and material, it is estimated at Rs.150-crore,” G. N. Naidu, Chairman of the company, told The Hindu. While expressing shock and anguish at the developments, he said Chandrasekhar, a mechanical engineer, joined the firm in 1985 and his career growth was entwined with that of the company's. Mr. Naidu said the protracted unrest started when workers demanded a bonus of Rs.6,000 and increments. In a meeting with the workers on November 22, 2011, the company pointed to the not-so-sound financial position of the company and agreed to pay Rs.5,000 instead of the statutory 8.5 per cent. It had also agreed to pay increments from April in the new financial year.
However, when the management turned down the workers' demand to reinstate Murali Mohan, who was dismissed for allegedly instigating workers, workmen went on a strike from November 25 to December 4. On December 5, the workers once again approached Chandrasekhar before he left for the U.S. for reinstating Murali Mohan. As their demand was rejected, they went on a flash strike and stopped production. Nevertheless, they kept entering the plant and punched the cards, the Chairman said. This forced the management to enforce “no work, no pay rule,” Mr. Naidu pointed out.
However, following the intervention of Yanam Regional Administration Officer, Jawahar, it was agreed, on January 2, to allow workers who gave an undertaking not to stall work.
Chandrasekhar, in the meanwhile, retuned from the U.S. on January 10. On Friday, around 3,000 persons from Kakinada entered the plant and destroyed machinery and other equipment, Mr. Naidu alleged.