Garment workers severely punished for minor mistakes: Probe report

Hundreds of workers of Himatsingka Linens in Hassan had staged a protest on July 24.

Hundreds of workers of Himatsingka Linens in Hassan had staged a protest on July 24.   | Photo Credit: prakashHassan

Labour inspectors get information from 500 workers of Himatsingka Linens in Hassan

The Labour Department, probing into the protest by employees of Himatsingka Linens in Hassan, has learnt that the workers were subjected to severe punishment for minor mistakes in their workplace.

Some of the violations included workers not being allowed to contact family members and requests for leave being turned down.

Hundreds of workers, a majority from north Indian States, staged a protest on July 24 alleging harassment by company executives. The protest turned violent, forcing the police to open fire in the air and resort to lathi-charge. Nine policemen were injuries and several vehicles, including a police van, were damaged.

Garment workers severely punished for minor mistakes: Probe report

Following the protest, P. Manivannan, secretary of the Labour Department, sought a report on the incident from department officials. Labour inspectors collected information from 500 workers.

A.H. Umesh, Deputy Commissioner of Labour, has submitted a report to the department, besides serving a notice to the company. The company is yet to respond to the notice.

The enquiry report, a copy of which is with The Hindu, states that during enquiry, workers said staff of the HR division subjected male workers to rigorous punishment for minor mistakes.

Mr. Umesh said: “Some workers said they were forced to do sit-ups in front of women workers. They were not allowed to speak to women colleagues and those who did would be punished.”

A majority of the workers stayed in hostels run by the company. They complained that they did not get hot water in bathrooms. They were not allowed to carry phones and could only talk to family members once in two weeks.

Mr. Umesh said the company had been providing wages and bonus as per the law. However, the employees had difficulty in getting leave sanctioned. “The procedure followed to get leave approved was wrong. We have suggested that they revise it,” he said.

Considering their demands, the department served notice with seven suggestions. The notice directed the company to take action against staff who punish employees. It asked the company to place a complaints box in hostels and display the contact number of officers of the Labour Department on noticeboards. The Hassan police had taken 65 people into custody concerning the protest. They were remanded in judicial custody. Among them, 19 got bail.

B.N. Nandini, Additional SP, told The Hindu that initially 176 people were taken into custody. Some were released after video clips were verified. “We have registered suo motu cases against the workers, who attacked our staff and damaged property. We will probe the allegations of harassment of workers in the company as well,” she said.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 7:46:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/garment-workers-severely-punished-for-minor-mistakes-probe-report/article29103361.ece

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