Gangtok, June 17:
The Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum (SPYF) on June 17 released a press note, on their official Facebook page, appealing the State Government to intervene in the matter of Cipla’s monopoly and attempt of muffling the voice of workers. It criticizes the pharmaceutical company Cipla among various complaints, for failing to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) while they worked during the lockdown, giving fewer wages and the State Government’s inability to protect the workers and not speaking up for them.
The press note goes as follows:
THE PLIGHT OF WORKERS IN SIKKIM AND CIPLA COMPANY’s MONOPOLY AND ATTEMPT TO MUFFLE THE VOICE OF CONSCIOUS WORKERS
There are around 5 dozens big private companies established in our state. They enjoy a number of privileges extended by our Government. The privileges ranging from tax holidays to subsidies in transportation, power, etc. They have occupied our most fertile and flat land for establishing their companies. They exploit and pollute our natural resources. Above all, they earn profits by exploiting the labor of our people. The State Government has deliberately denied labor laws to the workers in the state to benefit these corporate giants.
WHAT DID WE GET IN RETURN?
At the time of opening floodgates for these companies to our state, the government had counted a number of benefits to the people. The most significant of them being employment. It was argued that the problems of unemployment shall be mitigated completely from our state. Presently around 20 thousand workers are engaged in them but when it comes to the dignity of labour, there is almost none.
Thousands of educated youth are employed for a throwaway wage of Rs 300 daily. The workers are exploited not only by the company management but by the labour contractors as well. In the absence of any labour laws in the state, the condition of the labours is no better than the bondage labourers.
Exploiting the absence of labor laws in the state the private companies have no stone unturned to squeeze blood and sweat out of the workers. It is known to all that during the most stringent lockdown declared by the central govt in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic the pharmaceutical companies were exempted from it. Like all other companies, the workers in Cipla too went to the work risking their lives and their family members.
But when the Cipla company management failed to provide basic safety kits declared essential by the Government, the workers burst out in protest. After two days of protest, the Government intervened and their demands were fulfilled and they went to work.
WORKERS DEMAND FREE AND UNBIASED ENQUIRY
But the company started the witch hunt to those conscious workers who spoke in favour of the workers during the protest. The workers were harassed using the Police. And holding an internal enquiry over dozens of workers were terminated in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic. Over a dozen workers were rendered helpless and forced to struggle for daily survival in the middle of the lockdown.
The workers ran a post to pillar visiting labour offices, Government officials, elected representatives, significant office bearers in hope of the justice. They are demanding an open and unbiased enquiry. If in such enquiry they are found guilty they will be happy to be terminated.
CAPITAL VS JUSTICE
The company, using the power of capital, is trying to create fear in the mind of those workers who want labor with dignity by harassing these helpless poor retrenched workers. After more than a month of the termination, it has come to our notice that a case has been filed in the court against these workers by the company.
The company is alleging that these workers are causing loss to the company by disrupting production. The company has also alleged that these workers incited the workers for the protest during the protest in demand of safety kits in the first phase of lockdown.
We understand there is nothing wrong with holding a protest for not providing safety kits and other essential facilities to workers in the middle of a dangerous viral pandemic. The legitimacy of the protest has been proved by the authority accepting their demands.
To initiate witch haunt to a few workers for such legitimate demands is not only outrightly unjust but anti-human but against constitution and democracy as well. It is the violation of the right to life because working without such basic safety kits was life-threatening. The workers must be paid for those two days of protest as well.
APPEAL TO THE JUSTICE LOVING PEOPLE
We appeal to all the right-thinking people to stand for these helpless workers. We appeal to all the organizations, human rights activists, social activists, political activists, political and non-political organizations to speak in favor of these workers.
APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT
We appeal to the Government to intervene in this matter and help these workers for their rights and justice. One of the prime agenda of the ruling party was giving justice and dignity to the workers. This is the time to prove their political agenda in reality.
He can be contacted at-9747878533
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