16 June, 2021

Samant Strikes Back

Eclipsed politically, the labour leader makes a comeback bid

Samant Strikes Back

IT'S a long time since he's been in the news for the role he likes to play—leading mammoth labour struggles. For former MP and Kamgar Aghadi leader Dr Datta Samant, leading an agitation of employees of the Premier Automobiles Limited (PAL) may not be the stuff of the '80s when he had led the longest strike in history. But being pitched against the management in a struggle that has been making news for a month helps divert attention from the failure that the last three general elections had brought Samant in his labour-dominated South Central Bombay constituency.

"This is an agitation to press home worker dissatisfaction and lack of job security. In the last four years, the management has steadily reduced its workforce from 9,000 to 3,600 and now intends to reduce it to 1,800. They will ultimately run a paint and assembly shop," predicts Samant, articulating the employees' fears. An employees' go-slow in April was followed the next month by a management notice for a partial lockout. Among the latest face-offs is The Untold...

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