A preeminent gold financing company, Muthoot Finance Limited (MFL), which owns more than 600 branches in Kerala on Tuesday warned to shut down at least half of them following a revolution brought out by a section of workers with the help of CPI(M)-backed Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
In the Muthoot headquarters in Kochi, workers carrying the strike and those facing it nearly came to hits on Tuesday, and later company MD George Alexander Muthoot staged a sit-in on the road exploring a cooperative agreement to the argument. The CITU-backed Non-Banking & Private Finance Employees Association continued protesting outside Muthoot offices for the past many weeks trying a wage hike and better performance requirements.
Deputy general manager of the organisation, Babu John, told out of 2800 workers in the state at least 200-250 are parts of the union, but they seek external forces to interrupt work. He said more than 70% of workers are women, and they were hit when they arrived for a job.
“The CITU has destroyed several business enterprises in the state. It requires Muthoot to tear down its shades. When the entire country is in the grip of the critical meltdown, such acts will smudge the picture of the state further,” he said joining more than 300 branches were shut for three weeks due to the exposure.
The company has selected a chartered accountants’ firm to find out customers for its gold loan portfolio of some its branches providing a clear sign that it will turn up its services in half of the branches. “We are fighting. It can’t go like this,” said the DGM joining the company’s sales declined to 4.57 per cent from 13.50 % due to recurring work interruptions.
According to the initial quarterly report, the most comprehensive gold funding company in the country with more than 5,000 branches in terms of the loan portfolio, recorded an increase in net profit of 8% at Rs 530 crore, as against Rs 492 crore in the past year.
But workers said the warning to close down branches was a ploy to prevent the mess, and they won’t buckle under pressure. “It is a discipline tactic. Workers who have put in 10 years are carrying a meagre salary of Rs 8000-10,000, and their working situation is inadequate. The firm is getting enough profit, but not even one per cent is penetrating down to its workers,” said CITU state secretary K N Gopinath supporting the walkout. He told the CITU was obliged to negotiate after many workers requested it.
The concerned state government has assembled a conference between the administration and the striking labourers on Wednesday. State Labour Minister T P Ramakrishnan is demanded to visit the meet. But the government said it is yet to determine whether to engage in the agreement or not. “Majority of our workers are not union members. Then why should we serve it,” asked the director? But employees said the organisation was preparing to tone down its workforce calling the modern environment.
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