The Kerala High Court directed the state police on Thursday to provide adequate protection to those employees of Muthoot Finance who were willing to work at the offices of the company.
The company is facing a protest by a section of workers who belonged to left trade union demanding a revised salary structure and other benefits. It was the headload workers and auto drivers hired by the trade unions who were threatening the petitioners and obstructing them from taking up their job.
A bench comprising justices Vinod Chandaran and Arun V G issued notice to the state government and the police after another section of employees of the Kerala-based NBFC firm approached the court asking for protection.
"The employees who are willing to work shall be permitted to work in a peaceful manner. No one has the right to obstruct the workers," the court said in an interim order on a petition filed by the employees of the company seeking police protection.
In fact, the employees were getting handsome salary and other perks comparable to any public sector undertaking. The average business of branches outside the State was double the volume of Kerala branches. If branches were shifted outside the State due to strike, the petitioners would lose their jobs.
Various offices of the nationwide network of the non-banking financial services company are witnessing protests since August 20 by a section of employees, allegedly supported by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), affiliated to CPI(M).
The employees, who are on strike, had earlier said the protest was against the company's alleged anti-labour stance. Managing Director (MD) of Muthoot Finance George Alexander Muthoot had recently staged a "sit-in", alleging that outsiders were creating trouble in his company "without any reason".
He had also threatened to close all the strike-hit branches of the company, which has a total of 600 branches in Kerala.
The MD had earlier claimed that the company gave salary and other benefits to its employees on time.