Pawan K Ruia-controlled Jessop & Co has sought permission of the West Bengal government for permanently closing down the wagon making company, which has drawn sharp criticism from the state’s labour minister who said that it cannot be allowed.
“We have written to the labour ministry to permit us for permanent closure of the Dum Dum factory of Jessop with a copy to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on November 1,” the company sources told PTI.
“We have reached to this stage due to two reasons - productivity in the factory has plummeted to negligible levels while the wage bill per month is around Rs 2 crore for some 600 workers and continuous theft in the factory,” they said.
Confirming the receipt of the letter, state Labour Minister Purnendu Bose said: “They (Jessop management) have wanted to enforce the closure within 15 days. There is a no law in the country to do so. To effect closure in a factory, a 60-day notice is required to be given. What the Jessop management has wanted is unacceptable.”
Referring to the letter, Mr. Bose said Jessop management has wanted introduction of productivity linked wage and halving the number of workers in the factory to keep the company going.
“Can it be possible by a government to accept such an anti-labour proposal?” he questioned and said he has asked the labour secretary to take necessary steps in the backdrop of the Jessop management’s recent letter in the interest of the workers.
He said Jessop has a lot of orders in hand. “There is lot of scope for work in the company.”
The ministry is open for talks with the Jessop management, he said, adding that during a recent tripartite meeting the management was asked to come with ‘positive proposals’ within seven days but they have not done so.
Calling for transparency by the management, the minister said the company’s stand was all the more unacceptable when efforts were on to sort out the issues through tripartite discussions.
The Jessop management, he said, had withdrawn its security from the company premises and had sought police posting from the state government.
Jessop, one of the oldest companies in the country, has 600 permanent employees on its rolls and has some 70 acres of prime land in Dum Dum in its possession.