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6 Mär 2022

The Hindu

India: Kitex Garments reinstates 123 migrant workers granted bail after Christmas arrests

"Kitex reinstates 123 migrant workers on bail", 9 March 2021

Kitex Garments has decided to restore the jobs of the migrant workers who were granted bail after being arrested in connection with a skirmish at the company’s labour camp at Kizhakkambalam on last Christmas eve.

This was in the wake of a legal opinion received by the company that taking them back didn’t entail any legal hurdles. Out of the 174 migrant workers arrested in two cases registered by the Kunnathunadu police, 123 have secured bail so far.

The Hindu had recently reported on the plight of these workers left to fend for themselves. While they were finding it hard to survive without a livelihood, they could not go back home either owing to the bail conditions.

“We took time to take this decision for fear that we may be painted as condoning people with criminal charges. We decided to reinstate them after being convinced of the pitiable condition of the workers and their families," said Sabu M. Jacob, chairman of Kitex Garments.

However, the company will take appropriate action, including dismissal from service, in compliance with law against those workers found guilty by the court during the trial, said a release issued by the company here on Sunday. The police had submitted the final charge sheet against the accused last week in which not so serious charges were invoked against 123 workers, said the release.

Each worker to be reinstated will be given ₹2,000 and their families an immediate aid of ₹10,000, either of which will not be recovered from their salaries. Besides, the company will arrange free accommodation and food for workers on demand. Mr. Jacob termed this as the company’s social responsibility towards its workers. The company is committed to help the workers and their families in time of their distress, he said.

The company reiterated that many of the workers arrested in connection with the incident were innocent. Mr. Jacob said that the decision to grant bail to 123 workers show that the court was also convinced about it.