Factory workers thrashed forjoining union

The HR staff of a garment factory, who assaulted 12 workers for joining a union and fighting for their rights, were booked by the city police on Wednesday.

The Madanayakanahalli police said the HR staff of Shahi Exports Pvt Limited Unit-8 took away the 12 factory workers, said to have played a leading role in the union, to a separate cabin and abused them. The workers said they were then herded to a warehouse area, where they were callously thrashed.

Two of them - Thayamma, a woman in her 40s, and Ameen, a production writer - were severely injured in the attack. A worker said Thayamma's spine was damaged and she was taken to hospital.

An activist of the Karnataka Garment Workers Union (KGWU) Sebastian Devaraj told DH that Ameen, the complainant, was an elected member of the union.

On January 21, the union held a general body meeting for the factory workers of Shahi Exports Unit-8. The workers raised three major issues: drinking water, salary increment and transport facilities.

"The union drafted a letter to the Shahi management's general manager, requesting his time to discuss the issues. Since the GM did not entertain the letter, the workers drafted a petition and gathered signatures of 800 to 10,00 employees, which irked the management," Devaraj said.

The workers sent the letter to the management and to the labour department by registered post. A few management staff on Wednesday morning identified the workers who had played a leading role in the union, and attacked them.

Based on information, the police rushed to the factory, only to be deluded by the management, which said the issue was an internal matter and they would sought it out themselves.

However, nine workers, including Ameen, lodged a complaint with the Madanayakanahalli police after getting first aid at a hospital.

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