Workers occupy mill in Gorakhpur

LUCKNOW: Workers in Gorakhpur have occupied a yarn mill to press for their demands for better wages. They asked for reinstatement of sacked workers and action against mill officials who fired at them on May 3, leaving 19 injured. The mill was closed on April 10. Since then workers are agitating and some of them sat on a hunger strike but were later arrested. The protesting workers were lathi-charged by the police last week.

The workers are also demanding a high level enquiry into the firing incident. The labour department and the local administration have sided with the factory owners. The owners, on the other hand, announced that they would start the mill by recruiting new workers. In retaliation, workers have forcibly occupied the mill. As the situation remains tense, the district administration has transferred the station officer, Chiluataal police station, Gajendra Rai who ordered cane charge on workers. He has also been accused of acting as a henchman for industrialists.

The workers entered the yarn mill and occupied all its shops. They have refused to vacate the mill despite warning by police. The joint front for struggle on workers’ rights has said that the workers would not leave the mill until all the dismissed workers are taken back and a decision is announced to start the mills without any conditions.

Meanwhile, activists supporting the Gorakhpur workers movement have conveyed to the state government and the local administration that if the workers’ demands are not met, a large protest rally by several trade unions will be held in Gorakhpur. They criticized the state government’s approach of treating the movement as a ‘law and order problem’ and have urged the authorities to look into the basic cause of the movement – which is rampant violation of labour laws in all the industries in Gorakhpur.

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