Workers’ protest outside Alfa Laval gets Swedish support

The agitation by around 400 "contract workers" outside Alfa Laval, Indian arm of the Swedish Engineering Group, has drawn support from workers in Sweden.

The support has come after a report was published in Pune Newsline dated November 2. What has drawn sympathy from workers in Sweden is the refusal of Pune workers to back off despite a temperature dip. The city had recorded 6.8 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

Last month, the workers in Sweden had held protests outside the Alfa Laval industrial complex at Gunnesbo, Lund, (Sweden) to express their solidarity with the 400 workers in Pune. Since that failed to work, the workers on Saturday took out a rally in Lund city in a bid to impress upon the Alfa Laval bosses there to convince the Pune management to accept the demands of the workers. "Nearly 1,400 workers were invited to participate in the rally. This is what the workers representatives in Sweden had told us," said Yashwant Bhosale of the Rashtriya Shramik Aghadi.

Bhosale said after the report on the plight of the workers protesting outside Alfa Laval gates near Kasarwadi along the Pune-Mumbai highway was published, workers Henric Johnsson and Martin Djork from Sweden sent a team of students who were in India to find out what exactly was happening.

"The students interacted with the agitating workers and reported back their plight to workers in Sweden," said Bhosale. After this, some workers agitated outside the Alfa Laval premises in Lund city and tried to convince officials to pressurise the Pune management and end the strike. "Since the strike has not ended, the workers took out a rally on Saturday with the hope that the management there will make the local management see reason," he said.

While workers have been claiming that they have been with the company for a long time, ranging from 5 to 20 years, and therefore should get permanency in service, the company said protesters are employees of contractors of the company and not the company itself, therefore the protests have no locus-standi. "The protest is illegal and unjustified and therefore we do not want to engage with it," the company has maintained.

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