Bajaj Auto, which faced a worker strike some months ago, is in trouble again. The Chakan facility near Pune will be facinga new strike over wages and suspension of 15 workers, among other issues. The strike was to start on Sunday morning, but was postponed temporarily.
“My indefinite hunger strike has only been postponed temporarily as the Shramik Ekta Mahasangh, an umbrella body of labour unions in the Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial region, has intervened to take up the matter with the Bajaj Auto management,” Dilip Pawar, President of the Vishwakalyan Kamgar Sanghatana (VKS), the union officially recognised by the Bajaj Auto management, said.
Six months ago, over a 1000 permanent workers at Chakan plant, near Pune, had gone on strike for 50 days from June 25, 2013, which affected the production. This strike was later called and the workers returned to work on August 14, 2013 following an assurance from the management.
Mr. Dilip Pawar said the workers had been demanding a new wage agreement and revocation of suspension of 15 workers at the Chakan facility, among other things. The immediate provocation for the strike was the suspension of five more workers by the management on February 1 for allegedly abusing a general manager at the facility.
“The management has refused to meet us to discuss a new wage agreement and take back the suspended workers,” Pawar said. Instead, the company has put up a notice at the Chakan plant announcing a hike of Rs 10,000 per worker to “create division among the workers,” which is an unfair labour practice, he alleged.
A statement from Bajaj Auto said, “On oral request of many Chakan workmen and looking at the hardship faced by them, the management has decided to give a wage hike of Rs 10,000 per month in a phased manner to the workmen at Chakan.” It said the management had put up a notice regarding this at the Chakan plant premises.
“The VKS signed an memorandum of understanding (MOU) for this amount (Rs 10,000 a month in phased manner) for workmen at the Akurdi plant on February 10. However, the same union is making irrational demands at Chakan plant where the workmen have much lesser experience than the Akurdi workmen,” the statement said.
“This rise of Rs 10,000 per month given to the Chakan workmen having five years of work experience is same as that of Akurdi workmen having experience of 25 years of service and is the best hike in the Chakan industrial belt,” it said.
“Today we had a meeting with the representatives of VKS, to whom we explained that the average cost to company (CTC) of a Chakan workman stood at Rs 35,000 a month after the hike of Rs 10,000,” Kailash J Zanzari, Vice-President, motorcycle manufacturing, at Bajaj Auto, said.
The Chakan facility of Bajaj Auto assembles the KTM and Kawasaki Ninja models, among other models. Considering the launch of KTM RC Series is scheduled to happen by mid-2014, we hope this strike ends soon and production isn’t affected.
Source : FC