NEWS

Demonetisation Forces Howrah Jute Mill To Close Temporarily, Leaving 2,500 Employees Without Income

The workers haven't been paid for 40 days due to the cash crunch.

07/12/2016 11:47 AM IST | Updated 07/12/2016 12:50 PM IST
Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters
Representational image.

On Tuesday, when over 2,500 employees from Sree Hanuman Jute Mills reached their workplace at Ghusuri in Howrah district, near Kolkata, they were met with a 'work suspension notice'.

The notice said that since the management was unable to pay the workers in cash due to the banning of ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes, they were left with no choice but to shut down the establishment temporarily.

According to The Asian Age, notice read:

"With deep regrets management is hereby informed to the general body of workers and the operative Trade Unions of this mill that regarding delay of payment of wages due to discontinuation of currency notes of ₹500 and ₹1,000 non co-operation activities from the part of some workers have been increasing day by day causing labour unrest, unlawful violence activities has took place in each and every shift... The management has thus been compelled to declare 'temporary suspension of work' on and from 5 December till further notice (sic)."

But the workers, who have reportedly been working without pay for over 40 days, are saying that the management was 'using' the demonetisation move as an excuse.

Dhan Kumar Patni, one of the owners of Sree Hanuman Jute Mills told IANS, "Due to demonetisation of high-value currency, wage payments of about 20-25 per cent workers were delayed. They do not have bank accounts and we are not able to pay them through cheques or electronic transfers. We were forced to put up the notice because they were agitating and deteriorating the mill's working condition."

Singhania, president of the West Bengal Trade Associations, told Hindustan Times:

"In the name of demonetisation, the Centre has already caused tremendous sufferings to individual employers, employees and agriculture. It is extremely regrettable that a jute mill has to down its shutters throwing the lives of so many workers in jeopardy."

The Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) has also written to the West Bengal government seeking their intervention.

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