The closure of an iron and steel factory at Costi-Sanguem on Wednesday has angered the locals, with many of them marching to the local panchayat to demand restoration of their services.
According to sources, factory employees were surprised to find the main factory gate closed early Wednesday morning, with security guards instructing them not to enter inside the gate as the factory had been shut down.
The aggrieved employees, most of whom hail from Costi and Dudhal-Kalay, then proceeded to the Kalay Panchayat and submitted a memorandum to Sarpanch Vaishali Naik to look into their grievances.
While questioning the company’s decision to retrench them, the aggrieved locals demanded the restoration of their services.
Sources said the factory had been temporarily shut down from June 1 and since then, the services of contract workers had been stopped.
Inquiries revealed that the factory had engaged 280 employees under the contract system, while another 104 were on the regular list and 80 employees were working in the administrative section.
The company, however, continued to transport material from the factory premises and on July 27 last year, issued a factory closure notice to the employees.
During the three-month closure notice, the affected employees held several rounds of talks with the company management to discuss the issue.
Workers claim that the management had assured to look into their grievances.
The affected workers along with local MLA Ganesh Gaonkar also met Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in this connection and apprised him of the problems faced by the villagers due to the management’s decision to close down the factory.
Parrikar is reported to have assured the workers that he would interact with the company management and also assured the affected workers that he would not let the company permanently shut down the factory.
It is also learnt that the company reportedly paid the employees 50 per cent of their salaries for last few months.
The affected workers and the management discussed the issue on January 7 and the meeting was also reportedly attended by the officials of the labour commissioner’s office.
After lengthy discussions at the meeting, it was decided to have another meeting after 15 days. [H]