Chennai, April 9 (IANS) Permanent workers of telecom equipment maker Nokia Siemens Networks India staged a sit-in strike Monday protesting against over 50 workers being barred from entering the factory and an enquiry being launched against them, a top official of the worker's union said.
"On April 4, the company barred entry to the factory to 52 workers without any reason. The management has also initiated an enquiry against the workers. We are protesting against these actions. Representations sent to Nokia Siemens Network's headquarters in Finland did not elicit any response," E. Muthukumar, president of Nokia Siemens Networks India Thozhilalar Sangam, which is affiliated to Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said.
Tracing the genesis of the labour problem, Muthukumar said: "The workers' trouble with the management has been simmering since February when another union wanted to establish a base. Immediately the company transferred 15 workers to Kolkata without giving any advance notice or joining time. We later took up the transfer issue with the management."
He said all the 260 permanent workers were not allowed inside the factory between Feb 15-23.
"At the conciliation meeting held by the Assistant Commissioner of Labour, the management agreed that the workers would be allowed and other issues would be sorted out by talks. Today (Monday) the company announced initiation of enquiry against the 52 workers, including union office bearers," Muthukumar said.
Nokia Siemens Networks has its plant at Oragadam, around 45 km from here, and employs 260 permanent workers and 100 contract labourers.
"The production operations at Oragadam facility are running normally. We have offered our colleagues an opportunity to have an open dialogue to understand the employees' concerns in a manner that is mutually conducive and rational in approach. We continue to treat all our employees with utmost respect and appreciation as we have in the past," Satendra Singh, head of manufacturing operations, India was quoted in a statement issued by the company.
Refuting that Muthukumar said: "Production has come to a halt. Around 170 workers are on sit-in strike and several workers are outside the factory gates. We have asked female workers to be at home."
A conciliation meeting is slated between the union, management at the Assistant Labour Commissioner's office Tuesday.
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