The K.K. Birla-promoted Hindustan Times has terminated the services of 362 printing press workers. The workers, who were given the marching orders on October 3, have moved the Delhi High Court against the decision.
Hindustan Times has paid a compensation of nearly Rs 7 crore to these workers, according to a company official.
The workers had been resisting their transfer from Hindustan Times Ltd to Hindustan Times Media Ltd (HTML), the new joint venture company floated with Henderson of Australia, since February this year. In addition to these workers, some 400 journalists had also objected to the transfer.
According to sources close to the development, it was decided at a board meeting of the company on September 30, that the printing press undertaking would be sold to the highest bidder.
As HTML quoted the highest bid, the press was transferred to its books. The sources added that as per Section 25 (SS) of the Industrial Disputes Act, the workers automatically ceased to be a part of the company.
“These employees were being given some printing work since February but it had become unviable to run the unit any further,” the sources added.
When contacted, senior HT Employees’ Union functionaries told Business Standard that the workers were never given the option to shift to HTML. Apart from the Delhi High Court, the workers have also registered their complaint with the Delhi Labour Commissioner.
The union also alleged that the HTML management had not taken the permission of the Delhi government before it handed out pink slips to the employees.