Strike by MRF’s Arakkonam unit workers enters day 11

Special Correspondent

Management declared a lockout on Sunday

Workers were protesting “unilateral” agreement on wage revision

Factory files a petition in court for removal of striking workers from premises

VELLORE: The management of the Madras Rubber Factory, Arakkonam, declared a lockout on Sunday following the prolonged stay-in strike by the workers, which entered 11th day on Tuesday.

About 550 workers belonging to the unrecognised United Workers Union (UWU) and the United Labour Front (ULF) have been on a stay-in strike inside the factory premises since May 9, protesting against what they termed the “unilateral” agreement on wage revision reached between the management and the officially recognised MRF Workers’ Union without consulting the UWU and the ULF, and demanding the holding of an election to find out which union had the majority support of the workers. The latter two trade unions had obtained a stay from the Madras High Court against the implementation of agreement, but the management got the stay vacated.

Following the vacation of the stay, the management pasted details of the wage revision on the noticeboard of the factory. The MRF Workers’ Union tried to obtain signatures from the members of UWU and ULF in support of the agreement reached on the wage hike, which was objected to by the UWU and ULF, whose members resorted to a stay-in strike in the factory from May 9 to prevent the members from signing in any document supporting the agreement.

A petition filed by the UWU and the ULF in the Madras High Court praying for a direction to the management to facilitate the conduct of an election to decide which of the three unions enjoyed the majority support of the nearly 1,500 workers, and recognise the union which was found to have the majority support of the workers, was pending for several years.

A spokesman of the management told The Hindu that the factory filed a petition in the Madras High Court on Tuesday, praying for a direction to the police to remove the striking workers from the factory premises, since they continued to stay inside the factory despite the factory declaring a lockout, and to declare the strike illegal.

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