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MCF workers begin relay fast, seek reinstatement

Staff Correspondent

Of the 154 workers denied work since August 2004, two have died



REAPPOINTMENT SOUGHT: Workers of Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd. and their family members staging a relay fast in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner in Mangalore on Tuesday.

MANGALORE: Members of the General Workers' Union of Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd. (MCF) and their family members began an indefinite relay fast in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here on Tuesday urging the Government to intervene to ensure that the MCF authorities reappoint those who have been denied work since August 2004.

The workers led by B.S. Chandru, convener of the union, submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Arvind Shrivastav, in this regard.

They alleged that the MCF authorities have denied work to 154 "permanent contract workers" of the loading section from August 4, 2004, without citing any reason. Of the workers denied work, two have died, they said. They noted that in place of the retrenched workers labourers have been appointed on daily wage basis. Those who have been denied work have been working in the MCF for a minimum of five years. Some of them have served for over 25 years, they said.

The workers said the family of those who have been denied work are leading a miserable life.

Ravindra Kenjar, general secretary of the union, said the relay hunger strike will not be given up until their demands are met.

He said D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Mangalore MP, has spoken to the MCF authorities about their demands. "The MCF authorities have told Mr. Gowda that the protesters' demands will be discussed in the board meeting to be held shortly," Mr. Kenjar added.

He noted that permanent contract workers were getting all facilities availed of by permanent employees of the MCF. They included bonus, loan facility, uniform, pension and voluntary retirement scheme.

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