Friday, February 19, 2010

Throwing out workers with visual disabilities enmasse may be a bad precedent!

Dear Friends,

Cases like this are surely a discouragement to the voluntary initiative of private sector and are in bad taste-  both for employers and employees with disabilities.

Its difficult to prove how it all started and whether it was due to conflict between Management and Union or really due to no work being done by workers. One thing is clear, if the workers have been working for five years, they can't be shunted out in this fashion.

The management on the other hand should seek the active involvement of disabled employees in providing reasonable accommdoation. I also see a larger role here of NGOs that work in employment areas to diffuse the crises to set good precedent!
Subhash C Vashishth

-Nisha Nambiar

Pune: Approach disability commissioner; company says they were doing no work but will get pay till probe ends.

Twenty visually-challenged workers, who were suspended by a private firm in Chinchwad, have approached the Disability Commissioner complaining about violation of their rights under the Equal Opportunity Act 1995, which says disabled persons cannot be suspended.

Uma Precision Pvt Ltd had issued the suspension orders on Monday. The workers submitted their representation to the Commissioner on Tuesday. The matter will be heard on Friday.

Advocate Vaishali Sarin said that the employees have been working with Uma Precision since the last five to six years and the company cannot suspend them. “It is against the law,” she said. Sarin along with these workers will hold a sit-in protest at the company’s gates on Wednesday morning.

The firm has been into auto ancillary products for 30 years and has nearly 500 employees. It had employed the workers in its punching unit. They had been working since 2005. The workers, who are part of the MNS’s Maharashtra Navnirman Kamgar Union, had clashed with the firm’s officials earlier too.

The company officials said the workers were suspended and a probe was being conducted. Director of the firm’s Human Resources department Dilip Tilekar said the employees were not doing any work and were suspended for gross misconduct. “A committee would conduct the probe. There would be a hearing in the coming week. They would be given a chance for their say,” he said. However, these employees will continue to get their pay till the probe is completed and hearing of the case is conducted, he added.

Sarin, however, maintained that workers had been doing good work and many of them are the sole breadwinners of their families. “I am the sole breadwinner of the family. It would be very difficult to find another job soon,” said one of the suspended workers. Trainer Sunil Chordia alleged that the workers were not given adequate work and the company cannot complain about them sitting idle.

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