Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee may be arguing against strikes on the ground that they result in the loss of a large number of man-days but figures provided by Labour Minister Purnendu Bose in the Assembly on Wednesday revealed that only a fraction of man-days was lost due to strikes.
Replying to question in the Assembly, Mr Bose said that out of the 55, 86,170 man-days lost in the State since June 2011 till last month, only 9,592 man-days were lost due to strikes. The remaining was because of lock-outs or suspension of work at industrial units.
Senior MLA of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Anisur Rahaman said that the Minister’s reply has made it evident that more than 99 per cent of man-days are lost due suspension of work instead of strikes as claimed by the State government earlier.
Mr Bose expressed his concern over the instances of suspension of work declared by the management of various organisations despite their units registering profits. His department is seeking legal opinion on how to tackle the issue of frequent suspension of work announced by the management and provide help to the workers.
“Suspension of work is the violation of fundamental rights of the workers,” he later told journalists, adding that after closure a company has to clear all the dues of workers but during suspension of work the fate of workers hang in balance.
In response to a question by the Leader of Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra on the number of units shutdown between November 2011 and December 2012, Mr Bose said that only two factories had shutdown due to labour unrest while 39 others had stopped operating due to suspension of work announced by the management of the units.
Presently 11 industries are under lock-out and efforts are on to reopen them through discussions, he said.
Though Mr Bose admitted that strike is a right of the workers, he said that the Trinamool Congress government feels that the “overuse of the weapon by the workers in the State have blunted it”.
“Considering the economic condition of the State and the loss suffered because of strikes we urge workers to refrain from strikes,” he said.