At the gates of the Dunlop factory here, a formation of anti-mainstream trade unions is emerging fast under the Trinamool Congress.
The management’s cease-work announcement on Monday at the factory and payment of a monthly subsistence allowance of Rs 2,000 due to a demand slump was followed up on Tuesday with an agitation outside the factory gates.
Representatives of the Trinamool, Naxalites, the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) and the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights summarily rejected Dunlop chairman Pawan Kumar Ruia’s decision taken in consultation with the CPI(M)-backed Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and the Congress-backed Indian Trade Union Congress (INTUC).
Tapan Dasgupta, leader of the Trinamool Trade Union Congress, said: “Didi (party chief Mamata Banerjee) has asked us to oppose the injustice meted out to workers.”
Ruia, however, claimed the employees supported the agreement. CITU union general secretary Dipankar Roy said, “About 300 workers have communicated to the personnel manager that they are in support of the agreement, preferring it to suspension of work.”
Questions are also being raised over Ruia’s will to turn around the company. “Dunlop never converted, on an average, more than two tonne of rubber a day against the promised figure of 140 tonne,” Dasgupta said, adding, “So, where is the question of the market affecting the factory?”
Significantly, the anger seemed to be fuelled further by an order by Ruia to demolish the entire labour colony spread over almost 100 acres. There is a suspicion that Ruia has plans to develop the land for an IT SEZ for which he has already applied to the state government.