Two months after a section of workers at Muthoot Finance called off their 52-day strike as the management agreed to their demands, employees have resorted to protests again as the private finance group has closed 43 of its branches in Kerala and dismissed employees. "166 employees are dismissed in the branches without any prior notice. They were informed through an email on December 7 and some amount of money was transferred to their accounts," Manoj Kumar, employee union state committee leader told TNM.
For the last six days, the employees are protesting outside the Muthoot head office in Ernakulam. The union is planning to go for an indefinite strike from January 2.
The employees are alleging that this mass dismissal was an act of revenge as they protested earlier, seeking better salary and other benefits. The 52-day strike by Non-Banking and Private Finance Employees Association (NPFEA) was ended by the employees on October 10 after the management agreed to all their demands and also reinstated all suspended employees.
"When the strike was called off, management had promised that no revenge measures will be taken against any employee. All the branches that have closed down had good business and they were not in loss. When the management decided to close down the branches, employees expected that they would be transferred to other branches, as there were many branches without enough staff," Manoj said.
Gireesh Kumar, another union leader, alleged that the staff were dismissed based on their union activities. "Even though the branches were in profit, they chose them as many union activists worked there. It is a clear act of revenge," he said.
The union leaders said that many of the dismissed employees were long-term staff of the company. "There were employees who worked in the company for the last two decades. There are many from poor economic backgrounds and no other means to live," Manoj said.