Angry workers protested outside Jenson and Nicholson's office in Kolkata on Wednesday against the management's sudden decision to close it down and fire almost all of its 54 employees.
The 80-year-old paints company, which has been in the red for some time now, put up a notice outside the office on Tuesday saying it was being closed down and 48 of its employees were being laid off.
Despite J&N's fragile financial health, which saw the company's accrued losses till 2002 climb up to Rs 26 crore (Rs 260 million), employees were shocked when they came to office as usual on Tuesday morning and saw the gates were locked and a notice terminating their jobs had been put up.
J&N employees' union's general secretary Nitaicharan Basu said the office premises had been cleared out and they did not know where the documents, computers and furniture had been taken.
"This closure is illegal as the management did not inform either the workers or the labour department about it. We will complain with the labour commissioner," Basu said.
The closure notice signed by joint managing director Jyoti Shankar Chatterjee said the company could not sustain the losses anymore and was closing down the office and laying off 48 workers. Only a few drivers and security guards were spared the axe.
Basu said they did not get any wind of the plans to close down the office when they had reported for work on Monday. "Work was usual on Monday and this makes us believe that it was all pre-planned."
J&N has opened a new office in Gurgaon and speculation is it wants to shift its registered head office there.
The company has two production facilities -- at Secunderabad and at Panihati in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district. The closure notice made no mention of these factories.