Workers protest illegal closure

The protest started after the sudden closure of the factory and after the transportation of the workers was stopped

Aniruddha Ghosh

Protesters outside the garment factory in Kanakpura Road.

Bangalore, 21 November 2017: Garment workers at the Shahi Exports Private Limited on Kanakpura Main Road were on a strike and protest after the factory management announced a sudden closure of the factory.

They have not kept their promise to talk with workers and union leaders.
“Three months ago, there were 1500 workers in the factory, since that time, 1000 workers have been fired and only 500 workers remain,” said Prathibha, Union Leader of the Garment and Textile Workers Union.

“They have not informed the workers of the closure as per the law and have not given any other employment alternatives” she added.

The protesting workers said that on November 10, the management started shifting machinery and announced that the factory will be closing without any notice.

The workers are transported from various villages like Malvalli, Kanakpura, and Ramnagar Taluks to work in the factory. From November 11,  transportation for these workers was terminated.

Five hundred workers are protesting of which 50 are men and 450 are women.

“For factory’s closure, there is a legal procedure, they have to take permission from the labor department, that’s not been done,” said Jayaram, another Union member.

In the Karnataka State Self Certification-Cum-Integrated Periodic Returns Scheme-2015, under the Payment of Gratuity Act, it says that an employer has to give a notice in to the controlling authority in case of close down of business at least 60 days before the intended closure.

In an Industrial undertaking employing 100 or more workers, the employer has to obtain prior approval of the Government at least 90 days before the date of intended closure by giving an application in Form QA to Secretary to Government (Labour) as stipulated under Section 25(O)(1) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. A copy of the application needs to be served simultaneously to the representatives of the workers also.

The Government makes an enquiry and gives an opportunity to the employers, workers and other interested parties to present their arguments and views. After which, it makes a decision based on the validity of the arguments and its consequences. The order is presented in the form of a written document which is the provided to the employers and the workers. Pratibha said that the management has not followed these legal norms and closed the factory illegally.

Mr. Poovaiah, Head of Human Resources at Shahi exports said, “What the workers are saying is not true at all, we are not closing down the factory illegally. He added that the workers were protesting because they do not want to get transferred to the other units.

Currently, the management has agreed to talk to the protesters but in the presence of the Labor Commissioner on November 22.

The factory produces garments, which are exported for major international brands like GAP, Nike, and Walmart and has been running for six years.

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