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Workers to take out rally in Sanand tomorrow

Even as the workers' union got recognised at Tata Motors Sanand plant and talks continue between the two parties with mediation from the state labour department, the Sanand industrial estate is in for some action on Saturday as workers along with representatives of farmer associations and trade unions plan to take out a rally.

Over 400 workers, representatives of 22 trade unions, farmers from the nearby villages and farmers associations would congregate at gate no 2 of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) industrial estate at Sanand, opposite the Chharodi railway station. As of now workers and labour department officials informed that workers did not have permission to take out the rally, however, they were trying to get a police permission for the same.

Around 1,000 people are expected to be a part of the demonstration, which people close to the development feel is a way to mount pressure on the company to yield to the workers' demands. Ashok Panjabi, a labour rights activist and senior Congress leader, is also likely to be present tomorrow at Sanand.

A workers union named Bharatiya Kamdar Ekta Sangh Sanand (BKSS) was approved by the state labour department on Thursday, March 17, which has representation from around 450 permanent workers of the company.

Representatives of the union and Tata Motors officials held a meeting at the deputy labour commissioner's office today, however, no resolution was reached. Umesh Rathod, secretary of BKSS informed that the company has asked the workers to get the consent of at least 70% members of the union in writing that they agree to whatever decision the representatives of the union would take.

Rathod alleged that Tata Motors was trying to buy time and divert attention from the main issue, which is of suspension of workers. "One of our demands has been met, that of forming a union. The other demand, which is the main demand is still unmet. We are willing to call off the strike and join back if the suspended workers are re-instated," he added.

"Tata Motors thanks the DLC Ahmedabad for mediating when he called the meeting with the worker representatives to resolve this illegal strike. The meeting concluded with the understanding that the adhoc Workmen Committee will submit tomorrow the authorisation that clearly shows at least 70% of the striking workmen authorised this committee for future negotiations, with a meeting planned for next week."

A meeting has been fixed for Monday. M S Patel, assistant labour commissioner of Ahmedabad sounded hopeful that a final resolution would be reached in Monday's meeting. Over 400 permanent workers are on strike since February 22 at Tata Motors Sanand plant demanding that 28 suspended workers are re-instated.