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Worker action succeeds at Mauritius Stationery Manufacturers

13 February, 2014178 paper sector workers employed by Mauritius Stationery Manufacturers (MSM) Ltd have staged a successful sit-in at the factory in protest at being laid off without compensation.

“Following a 24 hour occupation, the big bosses were forced to convene a meeting and find a solution to the problem,” said Reeaz Chuttoo of IndustriALL affiliate CMCTEU (the Chemical, Manufacturing, and Connected Trades Employees’ Union of Mauritius). “It was very hard but with the solidarity of one and all, we finally succeeded.”

Over 500 dismissed workers were given retrenchment packages when MSM restructured and downsized in 2013 but the job security of the remaining 178 workers had been tenuous ever since, especially after the company was put under administration at the end of last year. Liquidation then provided a loophole so the company did not have to provide redundancy packages for employees.

However, MSM is predominantly owned by GML, a major group of companies in the Indian Ocean region which has an annual turnover of around US$ 1 billion and last year made profits of US$ 60 million.

After tough talks between CMCTEU and MSM following the sit-in on 5 February, the union will now negotiate retrenchment packages for all of the workers.

CMCTEU’s Jane Ragoo, who is also substitute member of IndustriALL’s Executive Committee, argued; “The GML group should give to those who produced the wealth of the company. It is not normal that the GML group, which made ​​profits in the billions, let its workers go without a penny.”