HIMACHAL PRADESH: Six-month Agitation of Hotel Workers’ Union Brings Justice for Sacked Workers

HIMACHAL Hotel Workers Union ensures justice to restaurant workers of Diamond Shopping Mall in New Shimla, after six months struggle.

The issue arose when two workers, falsely accused of theft, were laid off by the management on March 30. A general body meeting was called by the CITU on March 31 and it was decided to hit back with a protest to ensure that the two workers are taken back in their jobs.

Beginning April 1, all workers at the mall sported black badges and on April 7, a gate meeting was held demanding restoration of services of the two workers.

After daily gate meetings, on April 18, the management called the representatives of the union and agreed to make a settlement by April 22.

On April 23, after the settlement was signed by both the parties, the management refused to adhere to it at the registration stage, in the labour office.

The committee of Himachal Hotel Workers Union, affiliated to CITU had resolved to intensify their struggles until justice is served. The management, on the other hand, kept letting off the workers. 26 workers were given show cause notices and 23 were suspended during the period.

On June 4, the management resorted to illegal lockdown and 49 workers were thrown out of work without citing any reason. The management threw out about 100 workers after which the workers protested with a blockade at the labour department demanding action against the lockdown.

The management accused that the workers were forced by the union to protest. Later, in order to curb the protest, the management sought 500 metres injunction from the court due to which the workers had to shift their protest to a new location in front of the commissioner’s office. At the behest of the state government, new cases were filed every day on the leaders of the workers. The workers, however, didn’t lose heart. The government had to urge the management to agree for a settlement after 162 days. On September 14, with the mediation from Commissioner Amit Kashyap, a tri-party meeting was held. Anil Sharma, Aman Manohar Lal and Rahul Mahajan participated on behalf of the management and Kishor Dhatwalia, Vijender Mehra, Vinod Virsanta, Suresh Mehta and Ashok Kumar attended on behalf of the union. Both parties signed a mutually agreed upon settlement and that all workers shall resume work from September 17.

All dues for the last six months would be paid, and in future the management shall not behave in a hostile manner towards the workers, read the agreement.

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