The 11-month-long tussle between the management and workers of Raymond Limited, one of the oldest manufacturing units in Thane, has ended with a Rs 303-crore voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) settlement package.
While Rs 150 crore, along with Rs 43 crore for legal dues, will be paid immediately, the remaining Rs 110 crore will be disbursed after three years.
“The Raymond factory, set up in 1925, had become unviable due to recession and increased costs. The management had initially offered a package of Rs 150 crore, but we have agreed to pay an additional Rs 110 crore. It is a deferred payment of three years,” said chairman Gautam Singhania.
However, workers were displeased.
Labour union leader Jitendra Joshi requested Singhania to disburse the additional Rs 110 crore as soon as possible.
“I am sad because I have lost my job. After the tax deductions, what will we do with just Rs 14-15 lakh? We have loans to repay and pay for children’s education,” said Mulaji Patil, who has worked at the factory for more than two decades.
“Around 350 workers’ children are studying at the Singhania school. We request that they be allowed to continue their education at concessional rates,” said Joshi of the Kamgar Utkarsha Sabha.
State labour minister Hasan Mushrif, who was present when the agreement was signed, said the VRS package provided by Raymond Limited is the highest paid by any textile industry. Each worker will get around Rs 18 lakh.
He added that the state will come up with a VRS law because it was not included in the labour laws.
Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik suggested that the management could use 100 acres of its 126-acre plot to develop its realty business and shift the machinery on the remaining land so that the workers could make a living.
Singhania said they will discuss with the government about where to shift the machinery and when.