Chennai: The MRF Arakkonam plant, which was under lockout since May 17 following a sit-in strike by a group of workers, re-opened today. The management has lifted the lockout from the first shift on Wednesday and about 1,000 workmen reported for work, a MRF release here. The release said the recognised MRF Arakkonam Workers’ Welfare Union, after a prolonged bilateral discussion with the management, signed a settlement on May 9. The problem arose after a group of dissident workers decided to scuttle the agreement between the union and the management, it said.

The settlement envisages substantial benefits to workmen, including an increase in house rent allowance and washing allowance, among others, it said.

With this settlement, some employees will receive up to Rs 5,000 as increase in their total monthly pay packet. Many of the long- pending issues were also sorted out. Each workman also received an ad-hoc payment of Rs. 15,000 as agreement benefit. The retirement age has been increased to 58 years from 55, thereby increasing employment security.

A section of workers has been protesting since May 9 demanding wage settlement.

Vellore Collector M. Rajendran, after holding talks with the representatives of the union and management and the Labour department on Monday, asked the company to lift the lockout and seek an amicable settlement. – PTI