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Rival unions clash; Chittivalasa mill locked out again

Our Bureau

Visakhapatnam, Oct. 15

TENSION gripped the Chittivalasa jute mill at Tagarapuvalasa in Visakhapatnam district on Tuesday evening, as rival unions affiliated to the CITU and the AITUC clashed and the mill management declared a lockout in view of the situation.

Nine workers sustained injuries in the clash. The mill was reopened recently after a prolonged industrial dispute since June over the implementation of Section 9 (A) by the management resulting in a wage cut, DA freeze and other changes in service conditions.

In response to the pleas of the workers, the State Government issued orders referring the dispute to the labour court and keeping in abeyance the notice issued by the management under section 9 (A).

The management was directed to reopen the mill and run it in the old way, pending the disposal of the petition by the court.

Consequently, the mill was re-opened in the last week of September, but tension has been mounting between the recognised union affiliated to the CITU and the other unions, especially the one affiliated to the AITUC.

There was tension in the mill again this week, as workers belonging to the AITUC union insisted on payment of the enhanced DA.

The management rejected the demand, contending that the DA hike had come into effect from August, but the Government order only stipulated that the service conditions in the mill be restored as on April 12. Therefore, it was not obliged to pay the enhanced DA.

Some workers abstained from work and ultimately it led to a clash between the two unions and the lockout.

The recognised union belonging to the CITU alleged in a statement that the mill management and the AITUC union had "hatched a conspiracy" to get the mill closed again.

It added that the lockout was illegal and demanded that it be lifted immediately. It also accused the AITUC workers of unjustly attacking its union members.

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