The Managing Director of Muthoot Finance, George Alexanderâ€™s vehicle was attacked when he was near his office. He sustained injuries to his head as stones were pelted on his vehicle. The incident took on Tuesday, when employees of Muthoot Finance, a non-banking and finance company in Kerala, were protesting against the sudden layoffs of 166 staff members.
According to Muthoot's head of corporate communications, MD George Alexander Muthoot and other employees were on their way to the Muthoot head office in Ernakulam when alleged members of the CITU blocked the vehicle and pelted stones, breaking the windscreen of the car.
George Alexander's vehicle was nearing his office when a stone landed on it breaking the windscreen and causing injuries to the back side of his head. Alexander was seated in the front seat.
According to a visual that has surfaced, a man wearing a blue shirt can be seen hurling stones at the vehicle while the passengers in it can be heard screaming. Top CITU leader A Anandan, however, defended the CITU workers and said their people will never do such a thing.
An employee of the company, whose vehicle was following Alexander's vehicle, said three vehicles were attacked. â€œThe stone was a large one. We identified the person to the police, but since CITU is the ruling party's trade union, the police never act. In the past week, 20 of our staff, who are not part of the strike, have been attacked," a company official told PTI.
Visuals of the attack show a man rushing towards the car with a large stone on his hand as people inside the car can be heard screaming.
For the last few months, a section of the employees, with support from the CITU -- the trade union of the CPI(M) -- has been protesting against the indiscriminate transfer and dismissal of a few employees by the management.
"We have no role in this stone attack and we do not know who is behind this," said a protesting employee. George Alexander is currently admitted to the Medical Trust hospital and is being treated.
The attack took place a day after several employees of Muthoot Finance launched an indefinite strike on Monday, against the layoff of 166 staff members. The protesters have been staging a protest about 50 metres from the head office of Muthoot Finance after the Kerala High Court directed the protesters to keep away from the office.
"We have no role in this stone attack and we do not know who is behind this," said a protesting employee.
The protesters are staging a protest about 50 metres from the head office of Muthoot Finance, after the Kerala High Court directed the protesters to keep away from the office. Alexander is currently admitted to a hospital and is being treated.
Muthoot Finance has 3,600 branches in the country, of which 600 branches are in Kerala. It employs over 30,000 people across the country.
On December 7, 43 out of the 611 branches of Muthoot Finance across Kerala were shut down, and the employees who were laid-off alleged that no prior notice was given to them on the termination of their employment.
The Muthoot management has stated that the unrest has been going on for the past three years owing to which the company has lost 66 per cent of its business in Kerala, that contributed 11 per cent of their all-India business when the strikes began in 2016, which is now down to four per cent.
However, Muthoot Finance as a company has grown by 50 per cent during this period (between 2016 to 2019) from Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 35,000 crore.
(With inputs from PTI)