Over 500 employees of the Ashok Leyland Unit II here began an indefinite hunger strike from Thursday morning in protest against the management's failure to conduct elections to the workers' union.
The employees were led by Michael Fernandez, president of the Ashok Leyland Unit I affiliated Labour Front.
It may be noted that trade union leader Kuselar was elected president of the Unit II during the elections held in 2007. After he took over, a wage agreement was signed with the company in 2009 but many of the employees were reportedly dissatisfied with the agreement.
Meanwhile, employees backing Mr. Fernandez had staged a hunger strike on December 7 in front of the company demanding immediate elections to the union. To protest against their strike, employees affiliated to the Kuselar-led union also went on a hunger strike the same day.
In order to avoid unnecessary tension, A.G. Babu, Superintendent of Police, intervened and assured that he would negotiate with the company to hold elections within a month's time.
But even after a month, there was no sign of elections. Angered by the delay, the Unit II employees went on strike.
Over 150 employees affiliated to the rival Kuselar's union also began an indefinite strike today, supported by the Labour Progressive Front affiliated to the DMK. Police picketing was posted in the area to prevent untoward incidents.