Haldia Tata plant impasse ends, finally
Statesman News Service
HALDIA, 6 APRIL: The impasse at the Tata Chemicals Limited in Haldia came to an end ~ finally ~ as the workers belonging to the CPI-M’s labour wing Citu have resumed work after a month-long strike. This move came shortly after Mr Subhendu Adhikari, a Trinamul Congress MP from Tamluk urged all workers to join work at the Tata plant and the CPI-M state committee expelled its former Haldia zonal committee secretary Mr Ashok Patnaik for illegally amassing huge wealth.
The Citu leaders in Haldia, who were backing the workers’ movement at Tata Chemicals, were forced to withdraw the agitation as a considerable number of CPI-M leaders quit the party blaming Mr Lakshman Seth, a party strongman in Haldia for his “autocratic” and “undemocratic” attitude.
These leaders who have considerable influence on the labourers working at different industries in Haldia, reportedly told senior leaders that the party was losing base because of Mr Seth’s autocratic attitude.
Mr Ashok Karan, a former CPI-M zonal committee member in Haldia, who has resigned from the party along with about 50 party workers alleged that the strike at Tata Chemicals was not solely in the workers’ interests. The party was leading the strike because Mr Seth wanted it to continue.
“We don’t believe in unnecessary militant trade unionism. When the Tata management earnestly tried to resolve the dispute then there was no necessity to continue the strike. We called our fellow labourers and asked to respond to what the Trinamul Congress MP Mr Adhikari urged,” said Mr Karan.
Mr Adhikari had urged all workers to resume work on 30 March and the Citu workers ~ who were observing strike ~ resumed work from the next day. On 30 March, Mr Karan and other 50 CPI-M workers also quit the party which was played spoilsport for Citu, a CPI-M insider said.
Mr Adhikari, while urging the workers to withdraw their strike had said: “Tata’s Haldia factory is the single major phosphatic fertiliser manufacturer in the state and qualified as public utility services under the Industrial Disputes Act. The Citu, who once fought for Tata at Singur, is now observing an indefinite strike at the Tata’s Haldia plant. If the Citu continues to observe the strike, the company will be forced to shut the plant down”.
He also said: “Workers do not support this type of illegal strike called by Citu. A majority section of workers have made it clear that they wanted to join work. We will make arrangements so that normal production begins as quickly as possible”.