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200 workers pelt stones at mobile phone factory in Noida after company asks them to ‘go on leave’

The incident took place outside the manufacturing unit of Hipad Technology India Private Limited, a Chinese phone company that manufactures phones for Oppo and Xiaomi.

noida Updated: Nov 30, 2018 09:24 IST
Tanmayee Tyagi
Tanmayee Tyagi
Hindustan Times, Noida
mobile phone company,oppo,xiaomi
A view inside the Hipad Technology office after the workers of a mobile company pelted stones at the office building and clashed with the security during a protest for not receiving wages for more than three months, at Sector 63, in Noida, India, on Thursday, November 29, 2018. Phase 3 police is looking into the matter(Sunil Ghosh/ Hindustan Times Photo)

More than a thousand workers of a phone manufacturing unit in Sector 63 gathered outside the plant on Thursday morning to protest against the company asking 200 employees to go on ‘leave’. The agitation turned violent after protesters hurled stones at the building, damaging its windows.

The incident took place outside the manufacturing unit of Hipad Technology India Private Limited, a Chinese phone company, in A Block of Sector 63. Police said nearly 200 workers were denied access to the plant and were asked by the management ‘to go on leave for 15 days’.

The workers construed that they were being laid off and resorted to violence.

“I stay in East Vinod Nagar, Delhi. I came to the plant for work around 8am and saw that some of the workers were not being allowed inside. Soon afterwards, the management put up a list of nearly 200 workers and asked them to go on leave. But, in this business, we all know that going on leave means getting fired and that is why workers got angry. They were being laid off without any prior information and that is not fair,” Arjun, a worker with the plant, who was also participating in the demonstration, said.

He said the plant makes phones for Oppo and Xiaomi. “The production demand had been low after Diwali. We found out on Thursday that the management had asked the contractors to let some of the workers go, but we didn’t know this and everyone continued coming to work. The management told our bosses that they would employ us in a second plant nearby but that would take some time. What do they expect us to do in the meantime?” Arjun said.

Around 8.30am, when several workers were unable to get through the biometric system, they started gathering outside the building demanding answers. Around 9.30am, the situation turned violent as some of the protesters hurled stones at the building.

The firm officials, including a few Chinese nationals, were trapped inside during the stone pelting after which police were informed about the incident.

Senior police officers, including the superintendent of police (city) and circle officer, visited the site along with officials of the labour department.

“We have spoken to the workers and the company management. It seems that they have contracts with three vendors (contractors). The company had asked them to reduce their workers due to shortage of raw material. However, the vendors didn’t do so. Today, they put up a list of 200 employees asking them to go on leave, which the workers mistook as firing,” Harish Chandra Singh, assistant labour commissioner (ALC), said.

He said that it was a case of miscommunication. “The management should have communicated to the workers instead of just talking to the vendors. They should have taken a list of workers from the vendors and communicated to them whatever the issue was,” the ALC said.

He said the plant has closed manufacturing for now and will resume work on Monday. “Our team will monitor the situation and we have been told that all workers will be present then,” Singh said.

A management official said, “The contract of the company clearly mentions that the services of contractual staff can be terminated at any point of their tenure without any prior notice.”

Police said so far, neither party has filed a formal complaint. “We have taken control of the situation. We came to know about the ruckus around 10am. No injury was reported. However, there was some damage to the building,” Akhilesh Tripathi, station house officer, Phase 3 police station, said.

He said the police have detained a few workers and are questioning them to find out how the ruckus started. However, no arrest has been made yet, the SHO said.

First Published: Nov 30, 2018 09:24 IST