CITU State general secretary A. Soundararajan has expressed his ‘shock and surprise' over Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's statement on the floor of Assembly on Thursday that the police had not handcuffed him after his arrest in connection with labour unrest at a private firm near Chennai recently.

“That is not true. In fact, I was made to walk with handcuffs on. It is unfortunate that the Chief Minister had made such a claim in the Assembly when neither the DGP nor any Senior Police officer had enquired about the incident with me so far, he told The Hindu here on Thursday.

Insisting that police should not ‘interfere' in labour-related issues, as they have more serious issues such as abduction for ransom, murders for gain, assaults on politicians and deteriorating law and order to deal with, the senior trade union leader pointed out that the politician-police-criminal nexus had taken roots in the State with a Minister visiting a prison to meet an accused in a multiple murder case.

Demanding an exclusive legislation to recognise ‘trade union' rights in all firms, including MNCs, Mr. Soundarrajan urged the State to undertake a study on how many labourers had left their jobs instead of reeling out the number of recruitments since the industrialisation initiative was taken four years back. “This study will break the myth on the claims of huge employment opportunities and present a real picture on the labourer-industry scenario in Tamil Nadu,” he pointed out.

He said nearly 80 per cent of labourers in these firms were either on contract basis or drawing less than the stipulated minimum wages. To highlight these issues and for a positive government interference for the restoration of trade union rights, the CITU would organise a State-wide campaign during December second week.