Kerala

Striking employees had no role in attack on Muthoot owner, says Kerala Labour Minister

Muthoot MD George Alexander in his car, after a window pain was smashed by unknown persons in front of the Inspector General’s office in Kochi.

Muthoot MD George Alexander in his car, after a window pain was smashed by unknown persons in front of the Inspector General’s office in Kochi.  

Muthoot MD George Alexander’s car was attacked, a window pain was smashed with a large stone, by unknown persons in front of the Inspector General’s office in Kochi.

Kerala Labour Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan said striking employees had no hand in the attack on George Alexander, managing director of Muthoot Finance Limited (MFL), in Kochi on Tuesday.

Unknown persons had smashed a window pane of Mr. Alexander’s car with a large stone in front of the Inspector General’s office in Kochi.

Mr. Ramakrishnan said the agitating Muthoot employees had not waylaid their employer. “It is not their method,” he said. A police probe was on to identify the real culprits.

CITU Kerala president Anathalavattom Anandan said the police should investigate whether the firm had stage-managed the attack to tarnish the image of the striking employees. The Kerala High Court is due to hear their case against the management soon.

Scores of employees of the pawnbroking company had launched an indefinite strike against the firm last week after many of them received notices of dismissal from their employer.

The agitators, who had mustered under the banner of the CITU, had accused Mr. Alexander of unilaterally violating the wage and service accord they had struck with the firm in October.

The Labour Department had mediated the agreement in the presence of the observer appointed by the High Court. The firm had agreed to reinstate dismissed employees and open shuttered branches.

Mr. Ramakrishnan said the government was examining whether Muthoot had committed a breach of contract by walking out of the agreement arbitrarily. He noted the firm had several retired IPS officers on its board as advisors.

He accused the firm of repeatedly challenging the government. However, the government was viewing the issue dispassionately. “Entreaties to Muthoot to honour the labour dispute agreement went unheeded. The management is hostile to the government. I am also a victim of their antipathy”, he said.

The Minister said the government was examining the allegation that the firm borrowed money from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and lent the cash at usurious rates to needy persons who pawned gold and other valuables as security to cover their loan. He said the government was also probing different aspects of the company’s wide-ranging financial operations that spanned several States.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 4:30:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/striking-employees-had-no-role-in-attack-on-muthoot-owner-says-kerala-labour-minister/article30502032.ece

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