PUCL Bulletin, Jan 2001

Right to life in Jeopardy

Under the new policies being implemented by the government of India, the modern food industries, India Ltd, which was a Central Government enterprise till December 1999 came under Hindustan Lever Ltd after purchasing 74% of shares.

In July 1999 while the company was a public sector enterprise, the then management introduced a voluntary refinement scheme. Some of the employees, including 30 managers of the company, opted for the VRS and submitted their applications. The applications of the managers were kept in abeyance. In the month of 1999 the mangers who had opted for the VRS were informed that the funds provided by he Government of India were not sufficient and as such the applications would be kept pending till the end of march 2000.

In the meanwhile massacres Hindustan Lever to cover the management. The new management informed the managers who had opted for the VRS that the validity of their applications for the same was extended up to June 2000. The concerned mangers are sore that no action has been taken on their applications so far.

Instead the new management is creating a situation so that the managers' themselves resign instead of waiting for the implementation of the VRS.

Before the disinvestments of the company, many Ministers and Government Secretaries had promised that the change of management would not harm t6he interests of the employees. Now the employees waiting for the VRS have started feeling that their right to life is threaten. After having put 20-30 years of service in the company. This situation has been created in spite of a recent verdict of the Supreme Court of India that an employer cannot keep the applications for VRS pending indefinitely once the VRS is declared.

The stalemate is creating prospects of a bleak life for the families of the 30 managers.

- Inputs from H.B. Shenoy, President MFIL Officers Federation.

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