In West Bengal’s Murshidabad district on Saturday, around 350 contractual labourers at a cement factory refused to join duty, saying the management did not take measures to ensure social distancing in the production area.
The factory in the Raghunathgunj police station area is among the industrial units which have been allowed by the Trinamool Congress government to start production with limited manpower amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
The labourers, who were assembled by a contractor, did not join duty and staged a protest outside the factory which produces cement for a renowned brand.
“We didn’t raise any objection when the factory started with 50-odd workers. However, on Friday night, hundreds of people were asked by the contractor to join duty. On Saturday morning, 350 people assembled for duty and were asked to start work,” Safikul Sheikh, assistant secretary of the workers’ union, said.
“The factory is not big enough to ensure social distancing but the management refused to listen. They are providing each man with an ordinary mask. We will work only if our health is not at risk,” said Sheikh.
As per media reports, around 700 people used to work there before the coronavirus pandemic started. It reopened on April 20.