Alembic shuts down unit, workers continue protest

Workers serve another ultimatum, SKM joins protest

GANGTOK, 06 March:

Alembic Pharmaceutical Company Limited has shut down its manufacturing plant in Sikkim “till further advice” even as workers of the company intensified their protest today after the end of their ultimatum to the Labour Department that their issues be resolved by 2 p.m. today. Their protest has been joined by Sikkim KrantikariMorcha as well as workers of other pharma companies and private industries. The company has not given any reasons for the shutting down of the unit as of now.

On Tuesday, protestors had marched to Commerce and Industries Department in Tadong from ShramBhawan and submitted their memorandum to the department with an ultimatum to the State government to resolve their issue by 2 p.mtoday.

At around 3 p.m. today, the workers raised slogans at the main gate of ShramBhavan and demanded that the Labour Minister come to the spot.

Later in the evening, the workers led by Laten Sherpa also stopped the vehicle of Labour Department Secretary, LB Chettrifrom moving out of the premises. Police personnel tried to talk to the protestors to let the vehicle pass but they refused to do so and sat on the road.

The Secretary then came out of the vehicle and spoke with the workers. The workers demanded that the Labour Department Secretary have a meeting with the Principal Secretary, Commerce and Industries Department on Thursday morning to resolve their issues. However, Mr Chettri informed that the Principal Secretary was out of station and the meeting could only take place on Monday.

The protestors insisted that the meeting be held on Thursday by 10 a.m. otherwise their protest will get stronger.

The protesting workers eventually dispersed at around 5 30 p.m.

Meanwhile, a press release issued by the Labour Department dated 06 March 2019 which was provided to reporters by the protesting workers today informs that despite the department’s requests to Alembic Pharmaceuticals in a meeting held on 13 Feb 2019, the company has said that it cannot reinstate the terminated workers because they violated the rules and norms of the company by assaulting management staff following which a police case was also registered against them. The company, however, offered three months’ salary to the terminated workers as a goodwill gesture.

On the workers’ demand that the police case be withdrawn, the company has said that it could be withdrawn but they would not be given their jobs back.

The release further informs that 9 workers decided to accept three months’ salary and to the remaining 6 workers the Labour Department assured employment in other pharma companies till the police case is decided and in case the court acquits them then the department would have better scope of compelling Alembic Pharmaceuticals of reinstating them.

“They had a positive response on the proposal and informed that they be consulting among themselves and convey their decision to the department immediately. However, despite conveying their decision they intensified their protest through some anti social means and by gathering crowds in front of Labour Office,” the release states.

Further, stating that the department respects the sentiments of the workers, the release mentions that the case being under police investigation, the Labour Department cannot intervene in the matter.

Workers ofYuksom Breweries and NHPC Teesta Stage-Valso joined the protest today and submitted memorandums on their issues to the Labour Secretary as well. Workers of Aishwarya Healthcare and Mankind Pharma Limited had earlier joined the protest.