Grasim Seeks More Time To Settle Mavoor Unit Issue

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 24 | Updated: Feb 26 2004, 05:30am hrs
Happy ending keeps eluding the Grasim Industries saga in Kerala, five years after the groups exit from its biggest pulp and VSF (viscose staple fibre) production units. Last week, Grasim Industries has pleaded with the Kerala Government Industrial Tribunal for another two weeks to consider its final labour settlement.

The company has been allegedly deferring payment of Rs 25,000 each claimed as compensation by 1,346 workers of the Mavoor unit. About Rs 1,000-crore worth machinery (not including 40 years depreciation) had been idling in the VSP and pulp plants. Parts of these had been dismantled and transferred to other Grasim units or even sold. The transfer process remains in fits and starts because of the skirmishes with the agitating contract workers. While the claims of permanent workers are complete, it is the dues for contract employees that remains an issue.

Last week it was the sixth time that the top bosses of the company kept away from the meeting, says S Srinivasan, Kerala State Labour Commissioner. If the Grasim management continues to take a lackadaisical attitude towards the labour issue, the state government will not hesitate to take a stern stand supporting the workers, Kerala labour minister Babu Divakaran told FE.

That Grasim could offer Rs 25,000 for each of the 1,346 contract workers and improve its labour relations was the compromise formula that the state government proposed. We would have loved to pay up if we actually owed them a paise, says Chand Ghotia, head, Grasims Mavoor unit. Mr Ghotia looks after the transfer of machinery at the Mavoor unit. But the proposed settlement could set a precedent which similar contract workers in other units may later use as a claim, he pointed out.