GUWAHATI, Sept 27 - Stepping up their agitation, employees of the Assam Apex Weavers and Artisans Cooperative Federation Ltd (ARTFED) today staged a hunger strike demanding release of their pending salaries.
The protest was staged on their office premises at Ambari from 10 am to 5 pm. Majority of the employees of the entity have not received their salaries for several years now.
�Some have not received their salaries since five to 10 years now. Only some staff of the head office here are getting their salaries regularly. It has become difficult for the others even to manage their conveyance. Many are looking for other alternatives while some have taken up part-time jobs,� an agitating employee said.
ARTFED has 54 branches, besides their main office in Guwahati, employing over 120 people. There are some eight branches in Guwahati alone.
The employees also alleged irregularities in appointment of many staff and the system of job regularization.
The employees had launched their agitation on September 21 last. They have submitted representations to the government and the Labour Commissioner.
�It seems the government is not even in the mood to hold a dialogue even though the condition of the employees is deteriorating by the day,� they said.
�Some employees are on the verge of retirement and have not received salaries since several years. They are in a huge dilemma as there is no system of pension in ARTFED,� they added.
ARTFED was formed in 1977 by reorganising the Assam Apex Weavers Cooperative Society Ltd with the aims and objectives that the apex society shall organise handloom, weaving and other cottage industries in the State on cooperative basis.