Special Correspondent

VELLORE: The management of the Sri Munipachaiyappan Textiles Limited in Iyyppedu near Sholinghur declared a lock-out on Friday, following the labour unrest, leading to the arrest of 71 ousted workers on Thursday. The management sealed the gates after all the 325 workers, who were resorting to a sit-in strike inside the factory premises, came out at the intervention of the Revenue Divisional Officer, Ranipet, Kuppuswamy and the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Ranipet, V. Balakrishnan.

The ousted workers, who allegedly prevented workers from entering the premises on Thursday, were released on bail. The workers were protesting against the suspension of Perumal, a plumber and an activist of the ULF on Wednesday, when the latter reportedly canvassed among the workers to join the ULF on the grounds that the workers as well as the nearly 100 ousted workers could fight together for their reinstatement. They were arrested under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 448 (trespass) of the Indian Penal Code, on a complaint from the mill manager. Labour Officer, Vellore has issued notices to both the management and the representatives of the ULF to attend a conciliation meeting at the Labour Office here on Monday.