Bellary: The Indian working class is facing a double whammy of three months of lockdown and the grave economic crisis which is resulting in huge job losses.
The big industries and companies under the guise of COVID-19 pandemic have been sacking employees. The employees do not have any redressal mechanism for such unfair firings due to the dilution of many labour laws during the pandemic.
Diluting of the labour laws and Industrial Dispute Act by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government at the centre is taking a toll on the labour community.
Last week, Jindal Steel Works in Bellary district of Karnataka has laid off a large number of workers citing economic crises as the reason for the firings.
The sacked employees staged a massive protest on August 31st under the banner of employees federation in front of the Deputy Commissioners Office premises in Bellary.
The protesters alleged that the Jindal Steel Works had sacked 490 employees in the first phase despite the labours refusing to adhere to the deadline served for voluntarily quitting by August 31st.
Jahanavi who worked as Manager said that she received a phone call from the HR department and was asked to quit stating that the company was under loss due to corona pandemic. She was also threatened with termination if she does not abide by the orders.
“I have been serving the company for the last 11 year and it was the only source of livelihood. The job loss had left me in limbo” she added. Jahanavi efforts to reach out the higher-ups only added insult to the injury. She was told that she is a “non-performer” despite her prolonged service. Many of the employees who have been serving for the last 20-25 years have also been issued the pink slip.
Karnataka Shramika Shakti Central Committee member Kariyappa Gudimani who led the protest spoke to gaurilankeshnews.com- ” The protesters have put forth the demand to reinstate the employees serving a week’s ultimatum, failing which the labours would launch and intensify the agitation”.
“Transfer of employees to another plant, a move that would be aimed at suppressing the labours would not be acceptable”- he added.
The corporate company such as JSW had contributed Rs 100 crore towards the PM Care fund with an intention to protect its interest at the government level. At the same time, the company is claiming to be going into loss due to economic crisis and lockdown and is firing its long term employees.
The company has failed to safeguard the lives of its employees who have been working for the growth of the steel plant.
The prime minister Modi had asked companies and establishments not to lay-off employees but contrary to this employees were being ruthlessly sacked without taking into account of their economic situation.
This is not just the situation in Karnataka, but all over India, such retrenchments can be seen and in most sectors. The workers are slowly realising that they have no option but to fight for their rights and to intensify their struggle to decent employment.