Friday, July 4, 2008

Workers being laid off in the Tata Motors factory at Singur

Guard layoffs stir Singur protest pot

Chinsurah/Calcutta, July 3: CPM leaders will meet a senior Singur officer tomorrow to protest the move to lay off 700 night guards at the Tata Motors plant without five months’ pay.

“After submitting an application to block development officer Prasenjit Chakraborty, we shall start a bigger movement demanding jobs for the guards in the ancillary units of the Tata project,” said Debakar Das, a member of the party’s Hooghly district committee.

Some of the guards had given up land for the Nano unit in the Gopalnagar, Bajemelia, Khaserbheri and Joymollah areas of Singur. They have been idle since July 1.

Das accused the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation — overseeing the project on the government’s behalf— of “harassing” the guards by not clearing their dues. “The guards should be provided jobs in the ancillary units.”

But not all CPM leaders held the same view. Balai Sabui, Das’s senior colleague as the CPM’s district secretariat member, said the guards were told to go as they were hired as casual workers in December 2006. “It would not be fair to demand permanent jobs.”

But guard Mahadeb Santra said CPM leaders had assured them permanent employment. “Now, after one and a half years, our jobs are gone. What will happen to our family?”

A WBIDC spokesman said the salary cheques would be sent “next week” but made it clear the guards wouldn’t be taken back. “We can’t provide them jobs in the ancillary units.”

Local CPM leaders have decided to launch a public awareness campaign in favour of the project to counter Mamata Banerjee’s planned indefinite dharna outside the plant from August 20.

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Bhooter Raja said...

A large number of these workers are those who are in favour of the project and are CPI(M) supporters. That is why the CPI(M) has joined the protest. As a person told me at the Citizens' Initiative exhibition on Singur, it takes quite a bit of thinking to figure out whether one ought to support this protest or not, considering that a large number of these people(not all, like the ones in the concentration camp near Dobandi) supported the Tata Motors factory and are now protesting because they have not been paid and are being sacked from work within the factory.