500 workers of the Bata Shoe Company yesterday downed their tools yet again claiming poor pay and breach of contract. The workers who had reported at the company premises at 8am however declined to resume work. They also protested that while the company was yet to respond to their demand for better pay, it is also introducing duty roster. They spent the day outside the gate and waited for the second shift of workers who begin work at 3pm to join them in the strike.
Speaking to the Star, the workers said they will also have some of them to camp outside the company premises to wait for the 3am shift workers to have them join the strike as well. “We are joining forces to make the Bata and its contracted companies who outsource staff for them to feel the heat. We are not backing down until the poor conditions we face are addressed,” said a worker. They accused the company of devising new ways of getting cheap labour.
The workers alleged that the management is using the outsourced companies to get workers who they only employ to work on casual basis. “The company has been so clever. But we want to end their tricks. The company outsources though other intermediary companies. By so doing, workers end up being paid peanuts which cannot meet our basic needs,” said another worker who sought anonymity.