Agitating workers close down Shikhar Shoes showrooms
BHOJ RAJ POUDEL
KATHMANDU, Sept 23: Agitating workers on Friday forced closure of five authorized showrooms of Shikhar Shoes -- one of the most popular domestic footwear brands.
The workers have forced closure of Shikhar Shoes showrooms at New Road, City Centre, Bouddha, New Baneshwar and Patan.
“We closed our showroom after trade union leaders asked us to pull the shutters down,” Raju Upreti, proprietor of Shikhar Shoes showroom at City Center told Republica on Saturday.
Shikhar Shoes, which has been manufacturing around 500 pair of shoes per day, has stalled production since September 15 after workers associated with the All Nepal Industrial Trade Union Revolutionary (ANIT-R) padlocked its factory. The agitating workers have forwarded a 17-point demand to the company management.
The workers have demanded 50 percent hike in basic salary and other allowances, among others. But the management has refused to fulfill their demands.
“We are ready to address their genuine demands. But demands such as salary hike and allowance for their children´s education is something the company can´t afford,” said Ram Krishna Prasai, managing director of the company.
However, Indra Rai, president of the trade union at Shikhar Shoes said their demands are reasonable. “We have demanded permanent status, provident fund, bonus and festival allowances for workers serving for more than 240 days,” said Rai.
“We cannot fulfill their demands,” said Prasai. He, however, said that he was ready to sit for talks with the trade union.
“We will only hold talks with the management if it is willing resolve problems and resume production,” said Keshar Pradhan, general secretary of the ANIT-R.
The management on Saturday has threatened to shut down the factory permanently.
“If the workers do not compromise, we will shut down the factory permanently,” said Prasai. “We hope the workers will understand the gravity of problem.”
Shikhar Shoes was established some eight years ago with an initial investment of Rs 100 million.