West Bengal – Appeal to express solidarity with contract workers’ struggle at ECL-Raniganj

August 25, 2013

Received from Adhikar (Institute for workers’ rights, movement, research and social welfare)

[SummaryContract workers of Shitalpur Siding, Sonpur Bazar area of ECL (Eastern Coalfields Limited), Raniganj, were on a strike from 12/8/2013 demanding minimum wages, attendance in register (Form E), identity card. The union had been in discussion with the management. The management said it is ready to pay the minimum wage, but will not allow proper attendance. They said, ‘nowhere will your find attendance.’ The workers did not agree to receive 20 days’ wage working for 30 days. In the morning of 12th August a gang of 40 strongmen under the leadership of the local Trinamul Congress leader Naren Chakraborty started threatening the protesting workers. The management brought in workers from other places and started the operation. The workers were on a peaceful protest. When a worker was on his way to submit a letter to the management he was beaten up and made to wait in the TMC party office. Later, false police cases were slapped on him. At 12 o’clock that day, the goons attacked the protesting workers with sticks, iron rods and bombs. Ms. Sudipta Paul who was leading the workers was badly beaten up along with others. We appeal to all residents of the area to come forward to lend support to the struggle of workers who are your friends and brothers. It is a moral responsibility of all to save the workers’ movement from the exploiters and so called leaders of workers. – Ed]