Kozhikode

Comtrust takeover: AITUC faults Jayarajan

The Comtrust factory buildings in Kozhikode, certified as heritage structures, are in a dilapidated condition.

The Comtrust factory buildings in Kozhikode, certified as heritage structures, are in a dilapidated condition.   | Photo Credit: S_RAMESHKURUP

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Plans march to collectorate on August 2

Criticising the alleged indifference of Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan in reopening the defunct Comtrust Weaving Factory, the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) on Tuesday said the government had been behaving “cruelly to the plight of its former employees”.

K.G. Pankajakshan, State vice-president, AITUC, told the media that real estate groups and those eyeing the prime property in the heart of the city had been spreading rumours that the government was not going to take over the factory as mandated by the Commonwealth Trust, Kozhikode (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertaking) Act, 2012, unanimously passed by the Kerala Assembly and approved by the President of India last year.

“The factory buildings, heritage monuments certified by the Archaeological Department and the Archaeological Survey of India, are on the verge of collapse,” E.C. Satheesan, convener of an action council of trade unions representing the former employees, said.

Mr. Pankajakshan said that the provisions of the Act were yet to be implemented. Ever since the factory was closed down in 2009, 107 employees on its rolls had been facing hard times. Three of them passed away in the past 10 years. Fifteen others reached their retirement age this year. Though the Act directed that these employees would be the staff of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation and eligible for statutory benefits, the State government was reportedly not keen on the proposal, he said.

‘Holding a grudge’

Mr. Satheesan, also a district functionary of the AITUC, accused Mr. Jayarajan of nursing a grudge against the employees. He alleged that the Minister had stopped the disbursement of the honorarium amount of ₹5,000 for them, claiming “those who don’t do any work can’t be given money.” A case had to be filed in the High Court to restore it. Last month, the Minister’s office assigned the leader of a trade union, which did not have a unit in the factory, to hold mediation talks with the employees. Though it was decided that talks would be held in Thiruvananthapuram on July 26, the action council leaders were not invited. The parleys were cancelled in the last minute, he added.

Mr. Pankajakshan said that the AITUC would take out a march to the Kozhikode collectorate on August 2 seeking implementation of the provisions of the Act.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 5:07:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/comtrust-takeover-aituc-faults-jayarajan/article28763138.ece

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