15 Torrent Power workers held in Ahmedabad


Ahmedabad : Fifteen temporary workers of Torrent Power, including seven women, were arrested Thursday for threatening to commit suicide as part of their protest against the management.

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The police said these workers were on a sit-in since the morning outside the power generation unit in Sabarmati here demanding their wages. They will be released Friday, the police said.

However, Arun Mishra, who heads the Nav Jagrat labour union, told IANS that the temporary workers were protesting peacefully against the sacking of five of their representatives.

Led by union secretary Manoj Rajput, the workers had gone to the main office of Ahmedabad’s power supplier firm to submit a memorandum demanding their reinstatement.

Mishra said 360 workers working for 30 to 35 years as temporary wage-earners had approached an industrial court which ordered in 1997 that these workers be regularised.

Torrent Power then went to the Gujarat High Court and but single bench upheld the industrial court verdict. However, the company approached a division bench with a special leave petition.

Under the court directive, a settlement was arrived at and it was announced Wednesday, Mishra said.

However, the temporary workers who are being offered Rs.150,000 to sign a new contract are unhappy. They say the Electricity Mazdoor Sabha (EMS) has negotiated the deal without taking them into confidence, according to Mishra.

Torrent Power vice-president R. Hari told IANS that the majority of the workers were willing to accept the “substantial” settlement offered by the company and sign the new contract.

He also questioned Mishra’s role and said, as per the Bombay Industrial Relations Act (BIRA), there can be only one union and that was the EMS. “It is the EMS that we negotiated with,” he said.