Kerala

Trade unions to intensify agitation at BHEL

Employees of BHEL Electrical Machines Ltd. in Kasaragod have intensified their agitation demanding the early completion of the transfer of equity in the company to the State government and payment of salaries, which have been pending for the past 18 months.

Trade unions, including INTUC, CITU, STU, and BMS, formed a Joint Trade Union Action Committee to raise their demands on Thursday.

Committee convenor A. Vasudevan said the unit in the district was proposed for disinvestment in 2016 in line with the NITI Ayog’s recommendation. He added that the unit was opened as a joint venture of BHEL and the Kerala government, with 51% and 49% stakes respectively.

“Following disinvestment, the government agreed to take the rest of the stake, and a file was generated for its transfer in 2019. However, there has been inordinate delay on the part of the Central government in completing the process. This has put the life of 180 employees at stake, not to mention the huge debt into which the company has fallen,” he added.

When disinvestment was proposed in 2016, the debt of the unit was around ₹50 lakh. However, it has now reached ₹50 crore, he claimed. Following disinvestment, adequate working capital was not made available by holders, and the unit suffered heavy losses by way of non-execution of projects, leading to cancellation of orders and financial crisis, he said.

Mr. Vasudevan added that wages had been defaulted for the past two years along with non-payment of statutory remittances like provident fund and retirement benefits. This was despite orders from the National Human Rights Commission and the Kerala High Court to take appropriate steps to redress employees’ grievances.

Even the High Court order directing the Centre and the Department of Heavy Industries to finalise the agreement of sale between BHEL and the State government within three months has not been complied with, he added.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 4:33:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/trade-unions-to-intensify-agitation-at-bhel/article33688539.ece

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