July 7, 2017
The Managing Director of Pricol Limited, Vikram Mohan, has blamed ‘outside forces’ for the recent protests by the company employees.
Talking to reporters here, Vikram said though the relation between the management and the employees were good, some outside forces were trying to create a rift between them.
“We are being told by our customers to move our Coimbatore plant elsewhere,” he said and added that the company would consider it if it reached the stage of losing the customers.
A section of Pricol’s Coimbatore Plant employees, who are members of Kovai Mavatta Pricol Thozilalar Otrumai Sangam (affiliated to AICCTU), participated in a strike organised by opposition parties in support of the farmers who were protesting in Delhi on April 25.
According the company, the management was given notice only on April 20. It requested them not to go ahead with their plans as there was a huge production demand following the Supreme Court’s order to stop sales of BS III vehicles.
“The company even proposed the setting up of a fund with one day salary of employees. The company was willing to make equal contribution which could be donated for the welfare of farmers. But the employees were not willing to accept that,” said Sundararaman, President, Pricol Limited. “We even offered leave on special grounds for 50 workers to participate in the protest, but they rejected that also,” he added.
The company later issued a show cause notice to the absentees on that day, saying the reasons given by the employees were unacceptable to the management. The company deducted eight days’ salary of the absentees as per the Payment of Wages Act, 1936. The Pricol employees have been protesting for the last 16 days demanding reversal of this action. But the management and union leaders agreed in the presence of Joint Commissioner Labour to refer the matter to court and act as per its guidelines.
“Around 150 members reported to work that day and we functioned with only 55 per cent work force. More than 800 of them stayed away from work,” said Malarvannan, Chief People Officer, Pricol Limited. Around 1334 members work in the Periyanaikenpalayam plant. Malarvannan asserted that the plant has been functioning smoothly since June 26 and the employees were with the management, though “some outside forces are trying to create trouble”.
Vikram Mohan denied allegations that the management was pro-BJP. “The company has always supported its employees in Coimbatore and their wages are higher than those in other plants,” he added.
Ramathilak, Head of Manufacturing, said the production in their Pantnagar plant in Uttarakhand was 30 per cent higher than Coimbatore plant despite their wages being less.