Protest at IMFA’s chromite mine: Meeting with labour union fails

Bhubaneswar/Jajpur: No decisions could be taken to resolve the ongoing labour union protests at Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd’s (IMFA) chromite mine at Sukinda in Jajpur district as the meeting between the company officials and labour union president Pritiranjan Ghadai, who is also the local MLA of BJD, failed today.

Ghadai put forth several demands including safety and security of labourers at the plant during the meeting today. Later, he informed that the IMFA officials would discuss the demands with their management and the next meeting would be held on Sunday.

“Our discussion was basically on the safety of mining workers as it is top priority and can never be compromised. The company authorities told us that they will take up the demands with their higher-ups and inform us,” said Ghadai.

“We will have another meeting, but today it remained inconclusive as the labourers said that they would not resume work till the discharge of injured persons from the hospital. I had never heard such a thing that mines could be stopped till an injured patient is discharged,” said Sudhansu Patni, vice-president, Mining, IMFA.

Patni further said that the labour union president would inform about the decision of workers after visiting the houses of the injured patients.

It is pertinent to mention here that the accident which triggered the protest occurred at one mine but the agitators have shut both the mines of IMFA affecting livelihood of around 1600 families.

Meanwhile, IMFA authorities have also written to the labour union urging labourers to resume work immediately stating that it is unreasonable to stop work till the injured are discharged from the hospital.

“This is the first time in Sukinda Valley that such an unreasonable stand is being taken and it is untenable that work has been stopped on flimsy grounds. The injuries are not life-threatening and best possible medical care is being provided with the expenses to be borne by us,” the letter read.