Apr 20: A state infamous for its long history of strikes and agitations that often discouraged investors to Kerala is again witnessing a series of strikes that could hurt the initiatives to attract more investment to God’s Own Country.
The strikes are spearheaded by left wing CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) and three major companies affected are HDFC Life, HDFC Bank and leading value added spices major Synthite Industries Ltd.
Synthite Industries Ltd has threatened to shift its operations outside Kerala if the CITU persists with its agitation and strike. The strike is in protest against the transfer of 7 employees to units outside the state. The company established in 1972 and a major exporter of oleoresins has plants in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The company had an impressive track record of not having a strike in its premises for the past 46 years, according to Viju Jacob, Managing Director of Synthite Industries.
Meanwhile, New Generation Banks and Insurance Staff Association –CITU which had launched an indefinite strike across the HDFC Life branch offices and regional offices in Kerala in protest against the termination of 13 employees for not adhering to the biometric policy for sales has extended the strike to HDFC bank branches. Sumesh Padman, General Secretary, NGBISU-CITU said that branch operations and cheque clearances of HDFC Bank in several places were disrupted due to the strike. Many HDFC Bank branches remained closed on Friday also.
He said that conciliatory talks held between NGBISA-CITU and the HDFC Life officials was not a success as they refused to reinstate the 13 employees.
Sumesh Padman told Corporate Ethos that CITU was not against any of the company managements but only protesting against their wrong labor policies. The successful operation of any business venture was vital for the benefit of all stake holders- employees, shareholders and the management.
The CITU in Kerala had observed a general strike on April 2 in protest against the Union Government decision to allow companies to hire and fire employees as per their discretion. Elamaram Kareem, CITU General Secretary had described the government approval for contract labor in private establishments as blatant, unilateral and arrogant. The new labor rule was published in the Indian Gazette dated March 16, 2018 amending the Industrial Employment (Standing Order) Central Rules 1946.
Strangely, enough the A C Moideen, Kerala Industries Minister nor Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan have expressed their views on the strikes that could have an impact on the image of industrial friendliness or investment readiness of the State.