The Life of Labour: Hindustan Motors Workers to Boycott Bengal Polls; 39000 Verizon Workers on Strike

A round-up of news and issues from the world of work.

Hindustan Motors workers to boycott West Bengal polls

More than one thousand voters, mostly workers, living in the Hindustan Motors campus in West Bengal’s Hoogly district filed a petition with the Returning Officer (RO) of the Uttarpara constituency listing their grievances and threatened to boycott the Assembly polls if their demands are not addressed, according to a report in The Hindu. The C.K. Birla Group-owned plant used to manufacture the Ambassador car but suspended work from May 2014, leaving nearly 400 workers with an uncertain future. Power and water lines have been repeatedly cut, and most families are facing financial strains.

Under their newly formed apolitical union, Save Factory and Workers Association, the workers petitioned the RO to address their grievances, which they say have been repeatedly ignored by the company.

Beedi workers in Karnataka urge government to save their jobs

After the Centre issued a notification for mandatory pictorial warnings to cover 85% of all sides of beedi packets, beedi companies shut down production from April 6 in a bid to urge the government to amend the notification, which they feel will hamper their business. About six lakh beedi workers in 18 factories in Karnataka are reported to have been affected by the halt in production.

The affected workers protested in front of the office of the Assistant Labour Commissioner on Tuesday to urge the government to direct beedi companies to resume production, reports The Hindu.

Balakrishna Shetty, Secretary of the South Kanara Beedi Workers Federation has demanded that the government provide compensation to the workers until production resumes.

Maharashtra CM announces over 5000 houses for mill workers 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced the allocation of 5052 houses at a fixed price to mill workers this year. The decision comes after the Kamgar Sanghatana Kruti Samiti, a collective of five mill workers’ unions, had threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike over what it claimed was the state’s negligence to rehabilitate mill workers.

“While 2,634 flats measuring 225 sq ft will be allotted on six erstwhile mill lands in Mumbai, another 2,418 homes, measuring 320 sq ft, would be allotted on other lands in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), The Indian Express reported. The allotment price for the Mumbai mill homes has been fixed at 9.5 lakh rupees, and Rs 6 lakh for the remaining homes in the MMR.

39000 Verizon workers go on strike

After months of failed negotiations with the management to finalise a new contract, around 39000 workers of Verizon Communications Inc. plan walked off the jobs in Brooklyn, New York, yesterday. Their contract expired eight months ago and the workers, members of two unions — the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, allege that the managements wants to freeze pensions, make layoffs easier and rely more on contract workers.

Bloomberg reported that the management was open to federal negotiations.

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