Vol. XLI No. 18 April 30, 2017

Peerless Employees Hold Dharna against RBI’s Moves

Goutham Chattarjee

THE All India Peerless Employees’ Union (AIPEU) of the Peerless General Finance and Investment Company Ltd, conducted a day long dharna programme at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on April 7, opposing the move taken by the Reserve Bank of India against the company. Hundreds of employees and their family members throughout the country participated in the dharna enthusiastically and shouted slogans against the move taken by RBI to close down the RNBC business of the company and urged the government to take over Peerless company. Various MPs and eminent personalities participated and addressed the dharna.  Sankar Prasad Dutta,  MD Badruddoza Khan, A Sampath, CPI(M) members of parliament and ML Malkotia, CITU treasurer and other leaders participated and assured their wholehearted support to the union’s struggles ahead. Despite various positive aspects of the company, the RBI imposed this directive on the company to close down its RNBC business with effect from April 1, 2011 which has resulted in the loss of employment of thousands of field and office employees of the company. While imposing this directive, the RBI has conveniently ignored the verdict of the Supreme Court that while controlling the company, care must be taken to protect the interests of thousands of employees of the company. Peerless was established in 1932 and since 84 years, it is rendering its sincere service to its depositors..

All India Peerless Employees Union met several finance ministers of the government of India, governor, deputy governor and several officials of RBI urging them to allow the company to resume its legal business to protect its depositors as well as employees. All central trade union leaders also brought the request of the employees to RBI’s notice through various correspondences. But there is no redress. Meanwhile, the management has closed 84 branch offices of the company resulting in loss of employment of some permanent and casual employees. The union filed a writ petition challenging the directive of RBI in Kolkata High Court in 2012. But it is regrettable that after a span of five years, the single bench of Kolkata High Court has dismissed the writ petition in March 2017. However the union is going to appeal before higher bench of Kolkata High Court to save the employees. The union is demanding the government of India to permit the Peerless company to do business and held a signature campaign throughout the country and collected lakhs of signatures from the citizens of all states and submitted those to the chief ministers of each state with a request to pursue the demand with the government of India. Accordingly on April 6, 2017 a delegation of the union led by Sankar Prasad Dutta, met Arjun Ram Meghwal, minister of state for finance, government of India and urged him to allow Peerless to continue RNBC business or take over Peerless as the assets of the company are much high than liabilities. The minister assured the delegation to examine the demand of the union.