Retrenchment by HBT violates law: West Bengal labour minister
Kolkata: West Bengal Labour Minister Purnendu Bose on Monday threatened to move the Central Industrial Tribunal on the retrenchment of hundreds of employees by Haldia Bulk Terminals without issuing a notice, if the cargo handling company failed to enter into any negotiation.
Bose said he would write to Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge apprising him of the situation and ask the Central Labour Commissioner for a status report.
The minister described the retrenchment in two phases as a gross violation of the Labour Act.
"We shall move the Central Industrial Tribunal. Retrenchment through SMS without issuing any notice to the workers is nothing but gross violation of the Labour Act," Bose said after meeting five trade union leaders representing the retrenched workers at the state secretariat.
Bose alleged that the retrenchment by HBT, promoted by ABG of India and LDA of France, was part of the company's winding up process.
Problems had been brewing at Haldia Dock Complex, run by Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), after berth operator HBT retrenched first lot (275) of those employees stating they were surplus.
Again on November 3, the firm said: ""HBT is left with no option but to retrench its 348 employees from today."
"The issue does not come under the state's jurisdiction and thus we have to move through the Centre. However, we are ready to go to the extreme in the interest of affected employees," the minister said.
To a question, Bose said he would ask the state's Law Minister Malay Ghatak whether the state government was a party in the case moved in the Calcutta High Court.
Kolkata Port Trust acting chairman Manish Jain had earlier said that HBT would not be allowed to get away without penalty.
HBT on October 31 had announced its exit from West Bengal's Haldia port citing unsafe working conditions.