Minister flays EICL’s ‘detrimental stance’

Lashing out at the ‘detrimental stance’ adopted by English India Clays Ltd. (EICL), Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan said the government has been adopting all possible steps to thwart the management’s attempt to close down its Kochuveli unit.

Responding to a question raised by V.S. Sivakumar, MLA, in the Assembly on Thursday, Mr. Jayarajan accused the management of unilaterally suspending operations without providing even a notice, let alone any lay-off compensation or any other financial assistance.

“The company has attempted to cease production and flee from the State by portraying that the unit has been incurring losses. The government has been viewing the issue as a serious one and has been behind efforts to force the company to resume operations,” he said.

Mr. Sivakumar said around 1,500 employees were pushed to dire straits ever since EICL suspended operations on August 10 last. While the workers have been agitating for 165 days, the management has turned a blind eye to their woes. The hardships prompted one employee to commit suicide, while an attempt made by another to take the extreme step was thwarted by his colleagues.

He added that the management has so far refused to relent to the directions of the government and remained hell-bent on ceasing operations despite being a profitable venture that functioned on an 11.5-acre plot leased by the government. The company has adopted delaying tactics to slow pedal the government’s bid to broker peace and resume operations, Mr. Sivakumar alleged.

Mr. Jayarajan, along with Labour Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan and Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, had held talks with EICL representatives and trade union leaders on Wednesday. While the meeting resolved to conduct another round of meeting on February 24 to take a call on resuming operations, the company was also directed to inform the government on its decision regarding the payment of interim relief to employees within a week.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 2:00:17 PM |

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