Workers protest as jute mill declares lockout

Updated - July 05, 2015 06:04 am IST

Published - July 05, 2015 12:00 am IST - GUNTUR:

Workers of Shri Bhajrang Jute Mill protesting against the decision of Management to lock out the Mill in Guntur on Saturday.- PHOTO: T.Vijaya Kumar

Workers of Shri Bhajrang Jute Mill protesting against the decision of Management to lock out the Mill in Guntur on Saturday.- PHOTO: T.Vijaya Kumar

The management of Shri Bajrang Jute Mill declared a lockout on Saturday, taking over 3,000 workers by surprise and paving the way for registration of the property to a real estate developer.

Led by Bajrang Jute Mill Workers Union former president Lella Appireddy and CPI and CPM-affiliated unions, workers staged a sit-in at the Kankaragunta road-over-bridge.

Traffic on Pattabhipuram oad was blocked for over three hours.

Slamming the move to declare a lockout, Mr. Appireddy alleged that the management was colluding with real estate firms as the mill was in a prime location.

“The lockout has thrown over 3,000 workers on the roads. The State Government is turning a blind eye to the unilateral attitude of the management even though its actions are against labour rules,” Mr. Appi Reddy said.

As the workers staged their protest, police stood guard at the gate to prevent protesters from entering the premises. The chairman of the mill, Davu Gopal Lunani was unavailable for comment.

The management has entered into a development agreement with Aditya Infra to develop the mill’s 7.79 acres of land. Citing mounting production costs, shortage of labour and piling up of outstanding dues, Mr. Lunani has claimed that running the mill has become a herculean task.

However, the Department of Stamps and Registrations had kept the registration pending, pressed by several labour unions.

The department also sought time to assess the value of the property before finalising the registration. But a recent High Court order directed the department to complete the process of registration within 15 days.

Bajrang Jute Mill started operations in 1935 and was acquired by Davu Gopal Lunani and his family in 1994.

The family also owns jute mills in Eluru and Raipur. Over the years, the mill scaled up production to 65 tonnes in spite of rising production costs and shortage of labour.

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