TEWKSBURY, Mass. – The Market Basket grocery chain’s former CEO is urging the company to reinstate workers who were fired for protesting for his return.

Arthur T. Demoulas’s statement Monday night is his first since he was fired last month by the family-owned company’s board in a long-running dispute with his cousin.

Eight supervisory employees were fired over the weekend after leading a rally demanding that Demoulas be reinstated and urging workers to stop making deliveries to stores.

Demoulas said the workers shouldn’t be punished for their dedication. He said the company’s success is because of its business model, and its “impassioned” team of workers. He said “this is not about me.”

The workers say they fear new leadership means to eliminate the low prices for customers and good employee benefits the company has been known for.