NORTH LAKHIMPUR, June 14 - As an estimated 12.2 crore people in India lost their jobs during April last due to imposition of the nationwide lockdown from March 24, its aftershocks have been felt in Lakhimpur district too, in which 80 employees in the private sector lost their jobs. The adversely affected employees belong to Biswanath Ashok Auto Motors at Nowboicha in Lakhimpur.
According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), which conducted a study on this job loss issue, said that it will be difficult for salaried workers to find a job in the near future, i.e., when they return for work after the lockdown.
Echoing the prediction by CMIE, the employees of the automobile agency in Lakhimpur are now facing the heat.
The automobile agency under reference pushed 80 among its 144 employees out of service centre at Lothow in Nowboicha along National Highway-15 on Friday and locked the entrance gate.
These employees were paid only 20% of their monthly salaries by the automobile agency.
The employees of Biswanath Ashok Auto Motors were obviously a worried lot since Thursday over issues related to pay cut. As the management of the automobile agency announced payment of only 40% salary for the month of May, the employees protested.
Since then, they were observing non-cooperation as a mark of protest for the pay cut. The president of Lakhimpur District Automobile Labour Union Manoj Gogoi also participated in the protest by the employees.
�We�ve been sweating for the profit of the agency for years, but under the excuse of the nationwide lockdown, they�re squeezing our salaries,� complained one employee who was standing outside the locked premise.
When the nationwide lockdown began in late March, the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment asked private and public organisations not to terminate jobs on the pretext of the prevailing conditions. But these pleas hardly made any difference and large-scale retrenchments have taken place as businesses have been hit hard due to the on-going crisis. The same is the story in the case of Biswanath Ashok Auto Motors.
The Labour Inspector for Lakhimpur, Prasanna Tayung interacted with the agitating employees of Biswanath Ashok Auto Motors at Nowboicha and assured to look into their grievances, on Thursday. But as the employees reported for work on Friday, they were pushed out from the premise by the agency.
It may be mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown on March 24, giving the nation less than four hours notice before it took effect. Since then, it has been extended twice and has left millions of workers jobless and in dire straits.
Lakhimpur is a zero-industry district in Assam where employment opportunities are very limited.