29, Sep 2019. Workers at Barun Beverage Pvt Ltd (Pepsi Company) at Ramgram Municipality-10 in West Nawalparasi have initiated a phase-wise agitation movement.
The agitating labourers said they resorted to waging the movement after their demands that they had been pressing for through peaceful struggle since the last five months went unheard by the Company management. The workers had put forth nine-point demand before the management.
According to them, the Company’s management took decisions for addressing their demands at different times but did not bother to implement them. The workers have given a ‘final’ ultimatum to the management until this October 14 to fulfill their demands. Political parties and civil society have supported the labourers in their phase-wise movement.
The Agitating Collective Bargaining Committee coordinator Ramesh Gautam said that they were compelled to go for the phase-wise protest movement calling for the implementation of the Labour Act and reinstating the workers who were expelled. The Committee was formed as per the provisions of the Labour Act.
“Although agreement has been reached with the Company management on this issue, the management has not shown any interest in implementing the agreements. The Company has been employing all the workers on a daily wage basis through supplier company since two years,” he charged.
The labourers have been demanding that the Company should sign employment agreement with them and provide them with the employment letter. They have accused the Company of making them work without providing them with the appointment letter.
“We the labourers working here are on agitation since the last five months. The Company has not shown any interest in addressing our demands. Instead it expelled 50 workers on the charge of starting a strike,” Gautam said.
He also complained that the Company has not given priority to the locals while recruiting the workers.
Among the demands put forth by the Committee are immediately reinstating the expelled workers, providing pay as stipulated by the Labour Act, the Company should directly give the appointment letter, no worker should be expelled without valid reason and stopping the practice of taking workers through outsourcing.
The Company has 500 employees including workers and staff. It is said the Company has been expelling the agitating Nepali workers and bringing workers from India in their place.