ESL lays off 700 workers, MLA threatens for ‘fierce movement’ after lockdown

Bokaro: Nearly 700 workers at Vedanta Electrosteel (ESL) in Siyaljory, Chandankiyari in Bokaro district have been reportedly laid-off from their jobs amidst lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic.

Protesting against the wicked attitude of the ESL management, BJP legislator (Chandankiyari) Amar Kumar Bauri went on a day on hunger strike on Friday; threatened for a massive agitation soon after the lockdown is over.

“This act is out of arbitrary tolerance,” he added.

Bauri said that the company has disregarded the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PM has appealed to all public enterprises, private companies, industrialists not to lay off any employee during the lockdown but this has no effect at ESL.

Branding it as an ‘inhuman behavior’ of the company MLA asked Deputy Commissioner Bokaro Mukesh Kumar to intervene in this matter as earliest. He also requested Jharkhand government for a quick intervention, for the rights of the workers.

MLA urged ESL management to put back those workers immediately on work. Retrenchment during lockdown will not be tolerated, said Bauri adding “There will be fierce movement in the area after the lockdown if the ESL management did not pay any heed.”

Meanwhile, ESL spokesperson said, the company has been cutting production for the past few months and as result workers have been asked to leave.

The number of employees working inside the plant has been reduced to one-third so that essential services can run smoothly. While two-thirds of the employees have been instructed to work from their homes, informed Vivek Anand PRO of ESL.

“We are all aware of the enormous challenges and threat that we are faced with in these testing times,” he added.

Vedanta ESL, as a responsible organisation, has been adhering to COVID-19 guidelines as issued by the Central and State Government from time to time. Health experts and government advisories have underlined social distancing as the best means to prevent the spread of the virus.

In the interest of our workforce, we have hence taken measures to adhere to Social Distancing norms by scaling down our operations and running only critical units of the plant with reduced capacity, and ‘temporarily’ suspending some of the finishing lines during the period of lockdown, to avoid gathering at the workplace. We have accordingly identified a list of workers who need not come to work for now and stay safe at home. We would like to put on record that this is a Safety and Health Advisory issued by the Management, and does not tantamount to any job loss or pay cut during these tough times, it said in a company’s email.

We wish to reiterate that these measures are temporary until such time to ensure that the lockdown conditions are effective. We will continue to monitor the situation and hope to resume the operations in a normal manner sooner than later.

COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in many unforeseen ways. We, at Vedanta ESL, have extended our full support to everyone and are working closely with the District Administration on several initiatives during this time. From spreading awareness to distributing masks and sanitizers, and providing food to stranded migrant labourers and drivers to contributing funds, we are committed to helping the people fight the COVID-19 outbreak, and will continue with the same unwavering dedication to the cause, it said.

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