Jamshedpur, March 7: The Telco Workers’ Union premises witnessed a unique scenario on Monday when agitated employees held the union general secretary Prakash Kumar hostage, while driving out other members from the premises. They also locked the union office barring the entry of the office bearers.
When the union office bearers went to the Telco police station to file a complaint, the police refused to accept their complaint on the pretext that the issue was an internal matter of the Telco Workers’ Union. Dismayed, the union leaders returned to their office and had a brief talk with the agitated workers following which the latter agreed to unlock the office.
According to reports, the employees were agitated over the non-payment of salary dues to three employees of the union. However, an insider hinted that the problem lied elsewhere.
The Telco Workers’ Union has been plagued with problems for quite some time now. Problem started when a section of union members owing allegiance to former general secretary Chandrabhan Singh decided to merge with the present committee. However, this was opposed by Prakash Kumar.
Today’s meeting was scheduled to take important decisions on a number of issues, but the sudden disruption forced matters to be put in the back-burner.
Later, expressing his unhappiness over the unruly incidents, union president Akhilesh Rajak said that “whatever had happened is not good.” “It is indeed sad that three employees of the union have not received their salary dues despite adequate funds. But the manner they protested was not correct. I have always advocated for a united struggle in favor of the employees and the company, so I cannot support such activities.”
Rajak further stated that he saw the merger of the Chandrabhan faction with the present committee as a positive sign. However, it is unfortunate that some people are opposing the move, he lamented. “The union has been defamed today,” Rajak said.
Meanwhile, Telco Workers’ Union treasurer Prakash Vishwakarma held the general secretary responsible for today’s ruckus. He said that though there are adequate funds in the union’s coffers and he has been constantly urging the Kumar to pay the employees as per their old pass books, the latter has been insisting that payments will only be made after they open new accounts. “It is surprising how the employees suddenly became so bold. I believe they are being provoked by someone. The matter needs to be probed,” Vishwakarma said.
Defending himself, Kumar said that he was just acting according to the directives of the High Court, which has asked the union to open a new account and make payments from there. “There were lots of irregularities during the tenure of Chandrabhan Singh and hence I opposed their merger with the present committee.
Now, they will be obstructing any move to deal with the corrupt practices of the previous committee,” Kumar said, adding, “Employees have not been paid for seven months and, hence, this outburst was expected.”
On the other hand, the agitating employees have warned that if the salary dues were not met at the earliest, they would not allow the union members to hold any further meetings. Whatever be the case, it is obvious that the Telco Worker’s Union is split into two distinct factions and their spasm came to the open today.