Gorakhpur workers movement - Workers occupy locked out mill

Gorakhpur workers movement - Workers occupy locked out mill

Workers in Gorakhpur have occupied a locked out yarn mill since Monday to press for their demands. Workers in Gorakhpur have been agitating for several weeks on their demands. The struggle intensified after May 3 when hired criminals called by the owners of a factory fired on them injuring 19 workers.

The lock out in two factories of VN Dyers Ltd - a textile mill and a yarn mill - is going on since April 10. 18 workers of these two mills have been dismissed by the owners. The workers are demanding the reinstatement of dismissed workers, opening of the locked out mills and a high level enquiry into the firing incident. The owners, the labour department and the local administration have been trying to tire out the workers or break their unity, but have failed. For the past some days, the owners have been trying to start the mills without the sacked workers but the workers have resolutely refused to go back to work unless their dismissed co-workers are taken back. The owners were also threatening to start the mill by taking in new workers.

In the meanwhile, workers has gained another small victory. The SHO of Chiluataal police station has been transfered, who was involved in brutal lathi charge on workers and repression of movement. Workers alleged that SHO Mr. Gajendra Rai was acting as a henchman of industrialists.

On Monday, the workers entered the yarn mill and occupied all its shops. They have not budged from their positions since then despite threats and intimidation by the police and PAC (provincial armed constabulary). Meanwhile, a large number of workers are on the vigil outside the factory and have been supplying food to the workers inside. The Joint Front for Struggle on Workers' Rights  has said that the workers will 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.