Ramesh Chennithala Leader of Opposition, Kerala ( Screen-grab, Courtesy: https://images.malayalam.indianexpress.com)
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Leader of opposition in Kerala and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Friday asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to resolve the ongoing strike called by a small section of its employees of Muthoot Finance, a leading non-banking financial company (NBFC).

The strike, however, has not affected the company’s operations outside Kerala.

“If this does not happen, it will spread a bad message across, when Vijayan and his government is promoting Kerala as an investment friendly destination. Whatever may be the issues, the strike has to end,” said Chennithala, speaking to the media here.

Since August 20, a small section of the Muthoot staff has been on strike with support from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-backed Centre for Indian Trade Union (CITU).

On Thursday, the Kerala High Court directed the state government and the police to give protection to employees of Muthoot, who report for work.

The orders of the high court, however, failed to evoke any response on Friday, as the small section of protesters continued to disrupt the functioning of its Kozhikode office.

Muthoot Finance has 3,600 branches in the country, of which 600 branches are in Kerala. It employs over 30,000 people across the country.

There have been no business transactions in Muthoot’s 300 branches in Kerala since August 20 on account of the strike.

All eyes are now on the conciliation efforts by the Kerala government when talks take place on Monday, with State Labour Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan mediating.

The Muthoot management said that the unrest has been going on for the past three years owing to which the company has lost 66 per cent of its business in Kerala, that contributed 11 per cent of their all-India business when the strikes began in 2016, which is now down to four per cent.

However, Muthoot Finance as a company has grown by 50 per cent during this period (between 2016 to 2019) from Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 35,000 crore.

The management has said that they are not financially dependent on Kerala for the company’s survival, which claim has been contested by the CITU.

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