More than 500 employees of Falcon Tyres staged a flash protest on Wednesday morning following a suicide attempt by one of their colleagues on Tuesday night. The protest too witnessed an ugly scene where another employee poured kerosene on himself and tried to immolate himself.
The protestors shouted slogans against the factory management for not beginning production as promised and demanded the immediate intervention of the state government.
According to protesters and the labour union leaders, non-payment of salary and joblessness drove 45-year-old Sunil to consume poison on the factory premises. Sunil hailed from Kerala and had migrated to the city and joined Falcon Tyres a few months back.
As he did not have any other means of income, he depended on the company salary which was not being paid, the protesters alleged. Sunil had to face a crisis in his family and had gone into a depression. Soon after the incident on Tuesday, Sunil was rushed to K R Hospital and was later shifted to Aditya Nursing Home for advanced treatment as his condition started deteriorating.
As the news spread, employees gathered at the KRS Road junction near the Royal Inn Hotel and blocked the traffic for some time. They held the factory management and the state government for driving employees to the extreme step.
Shouting slogans, they squatted on the road bringing traffic into a grinding halt. At this point, Dharanesh, who was serving the company since years, poured kerosene on himself and tried to light a match box. He was immediately stopped by the police and protesters and was taken to Metagalli police station.
Seeing the situation going out of control, the police convinced the employees to withdraw their strike that was causing a huge traffic jam. Later, the protesters assembled near their factory gate.
Falcon Tyres is one of the premium tyre producing factories in India. Production stopped in December 2014 when the management decided to close operations citing severe financial losses. Workers are out of their jobs since then and their dependents are literally in the lurch.
The factory was incorporated in 1973 by the Dubai-based MR Chabbria group. In November 2005, it was acquired by the Ruia group, headed by Pawan Kumar Ruia. It makes automotive tyres and tubes for mainly the two-and three-wheeler segments.
Employees, with no other option, had taken to the streets in 2015 and were on an indefinite strike at the DC office for months, drawing the attention of the state government towards their plight. The government intervened in June 2015 and after a series of talks with the management and labour union leaders, it was decided to open the factory in July.
The factory, however, neither started production in July nor in August 2015 though the management had assured to do so. Employees said that the salary dues would amount to Rs 6 crore. Apart from non-payment of salaries, the company has also not deposited the provident fund and the tax deducted at source that have been deducted from the salaries since years.