Monday, January 21, 2008

Maoists force shut down of Khetan group's noodle factory

Global News / Markets

KATHMANDU: A food firm in eastern Nepal has been closed down after the Maoist-affiliated trade union halted work in the factory demanding reinstatement of 138-sacked workers.

The management of Himalayan Snacks and Noodles Private Limited (HSNPL) of Khetan Group in Kavre district, 65 km east from here, shut down the factory yesterday as the All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF) workers have been obstructing production since Thursday last.

They have been demanding reinstatement of 138 workers, sacked few months ago. There were altogether 215 workers in the factory. "We have issued notice of indefinite factory closure as workers, who turn up at the factory halted their works," according to Mr Rabindra Silwal, Assistant Director of HSNPL.

The factory has been facing labour problems since it relieved 138 daily wageworkers, citing that one of the plants of the factory was out of order.

To press for their demands, the Maoists had picketed the company's administration office on January 10 and a week later they had picketed HSNPL's central office and corporate office in Kathmandu.

"Maoist-affiliated workers do not agree to abide by the agreement reached a year ago," claimed Mr Silwal, adding, "We held dialogue three times, but of no use."

He said the factory could open if workers pledge not to obstruct distribution and production, besides guaranteeing security of the factory.

However, the workers warned to encircle the residence of the Mr Rajendra Khetan, Chairman of the Khetan Group.

"We had only demanded that workers be given permanent and temporary status and some facilities be increased," said Mr Hom Bahadur Khulal, Vice Chairman of ANTUF. - PTI

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