Vehemently opposing the Central government’s bid to privatise the Nagaon and Cachar paper mills, the Federation of Registered and Recognized Unions of Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd (HPCL) said that this move would certainly destroy the future of the paper mill workers.
Addressing a press conference in Guwahati on Tuesday, Manabendra Chakraborty, President of the Cachar Paper Project Workers’ Union (CPPWU) said, “We don’t support the decision of the government to hand over the operation and management of the Corporation to private parties. This is just unfair, unjust and illegal. We are of the view that induction of any form of privatisation will be suicidal in the industrially underdeveloped Northeast. We reaffirm our stand on the basis of the past cases like Ashok Paper Mill in Jogighopa.”
“Moreover, without any prior discussion with the valid representatives of the workers and employees, the management is attempting to change the present status and service conditions of the workers in contravention to the relevant law of the land. Even though the management failed to release terminal dues of the employees, they are attempting to enforce VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme) vide a vague circular No 06/2018 dtd 23/2/2018 which has ignited serious doubts that the management may also fail to release the VRS benefit for concerned workers,” Chakraborty added.
The demands of the Federation include immediate release of all terminal dues to the retired/seperated/deceased employees with due compensation on delayed payment; release of salary and statutory dues of the existing workers/employees along with compensations and damages on delayed payments; implementation of the revised ceiling of gratuity Rs 2000000 for existing employees prior to implementing of any VRS scheme.
The Federation also demanded immediate implementation of the revised pay scale of the employees which is due with effect from January 1, 2017. The proposed VRS should be calculated on revised pay scale as has been done in other cases. The modalities of VRS should be finalized with prior discussion and consent of the valid representatives of the workers, demanded the Federation.
Around 1500 permanent workers, 7000 contractual workers and above 2 lakh people indirectly associated with the HPCL.