Employees pin hopes on Cabinet meet scheduled for May 15

Jaiveer Srivastava, Chairman and Managing Director of the Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore, on Wednesday made a fervent appeal to trade unions representing workers and officers of the company to call off their proposed day-long hartal and rail blockade on May 12.

However, the trade unions represented by Save FACT Action Committee rejected the appeal and are making preparations for the dawn-to-dusk hartal and industrial strike.

Mr. Srivastava told the trade union leaders and officers that the proposed hartal would cause a lot of hardship to the people and action like a hartal would only “send the wrong message”, said an official statement from FACT.

The CMD also promised the trade unions that the government was aware of the troubles facing FACT and that “a suitable decision was expected from the authorities any time”.

A meeting of trade union leaders here on Wednesday decided to postpone the district-level campaign to 9 and 10 in view of an all-Kerala hartal called in protest against the Supreme Court verdict on the Mullaperiyar dam. Convenor of the Action Committee K. Chandran Pillai said that the trade unions were going ahead with their preparations for the May 12 industrial action and that campaigns were being organised in all the 14 Assembly constituencies in Ernakulam district on May 9 and 10.

Financial package

Meanwhile, trade unions and the management are pinning hopes on the upcoming Cabinet meeting, one being scheduled for May 15, for a decision on the proposed financial package for the company recommended by the Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises.

Mr. Pillai said that there were assurances from all quarters that the Rs. 991-crore financial package for the company would be approved. In case that does not happen, FACT would be in serious trouble, he said, pointing out that a new government at the Centre would take time for a decision on FACT for policy reasons. This can lead to further delay and idling of chemical plants.

He said FACT was facing serious financial troubles and even the payment of salaries for the current month may be delayed because of the shortage of working capital.

More In: Kochi | Kerala | National