Three lorry contractors arrested for contract violation under ESMA
The indefinite strike over bonus issue called by contract transport workers attached to the LPG (Indane) bottling plant of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) at Paripally near here was withdrawn on Saturday afternoon following talks called by District Collector B. Mohanan.
On directions from the Collector, three lorry contractors attached to the plant were arrested under provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on charges of violation of contract agreement with the IOC. Mr. Mohanan said similar action would be initiated against nine other contractors too. The lorries will now be operated directly by the IOC. The workers have already joined duty.
Eighteen lorry contractors are attached to the plant and they operate 148 trucks. Six of them owning 16 lorries had agreed to meet the demands of the workers and those lorries were omitted from the strike. The names of the lorry contractors arrested were given as Sreenilayam Sathyaseelan, Suresh Babu, and Jaganmohan.
The bonus issue began during the Onam season last month. Workers had gone on strike then too.
It was withdrawn following an advance payment of Rs.10,000 to drivers and Rs.5,000 to cleaners. The second phase of the strike began on Monday. S. Sudhir Kumar, district secretary of the LPG Workers Union said the indefinite strike which entered the sixth day on Saturday was withdrawn following an agreement that drivers would be paid an additional advance of Rs.500 and the cleaners Rs.250.
President of the union V. Ganesh said the bonus demand was Rs.15,000 for drivers and Rs.7,500 for cleaners. This demand had not been withdrawn and the issue was pending at the labour court. Even though the strike had been withdrawn, the workers will continue to press for the demand.
The meeting was also attended by the Joint Labour Commissioner A.K. Sreehari; District Superintendent of Police (Kollam Rural) S. Surendran; Chathannur Assistant Commissioner of Police V. Suresh Kumar; District Labour Officer N. Omanakuttan; District Supply Officer Sudharma Kumari; Kollam Regional Transport Officer K.G. Shamuel; INTUC State president R. Chandrashekaran; CITU district secretary K. Thulasidharan; and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh leader K. Sivarajan.