Bajaj Auto workers on hunger strike on Sunday over wage revision

Mumbai: Bajaj Auto Ltd’s workers at Chakan and Akurdi factories plan to go on a one-day hunger strike on 2 October to press for expediting the wage revision and reinstatement of workers suspended during the previous round of wage settlement.

The main reason for hunger strike as mentioned by the union is a delay in conclusion of the wage review process which was due with effect from 1 April 2016, said Kailash J Zanzari, senior vice president for manufacturing at Bajaj Auto, in a statement on Saturday.

“The Union has put blame on management for the delay in concluding the wage review process. However, the facts are contrary. The management was very proactive in its approach and had started the process of said review from the month of February 2016 itself,” said Zanzari.

But Dilip Pawar, president of Vishwakalyan Kamgar Sanghatana, maintained that the workers are very much committed towards organisational growth and goal of the company. However, there is tremendous dissatisfaction among the workers over the delay in settlement.

“During our discussion for proposed settlement we never used any coercion violence, slowdown, abusive language etc. But now we realize that our patience and maturity has been considered our weakness,” he said in a statement.

“We hereby place on record that all our members will go a hunger strike on 2nd October 2016. We also place on record that the Union is forced to start agitation against the careless attitude of the management to resolve our fair and reasonable issues,” said Pawar.

The company’s management, pointed out Zanzari, over the past few months has given several proposals to the workers for the salary negotiation and wage revision. However, the talks could not be concluded owing to the workers demand of reinstating those who were dismissed during 2013-14 for committing acts of misconduct.

“Since the charges levelled against the workmen were proved and they were found guilty in the enquiry, they were awarded the punishment of dismissal. The management will never compromise on discipline related aspects,” he said.

To be sure, this is the second time in three years, that labour issues are cropping up at the Pune-based manufacturer. During the last wage review, which was due from April 2013, the union went on strike for 50 days over the issue of allotment of shares to workmen. They eventually came back to work unconditionally.

“This time also, in spite of all above facts and considerable progress made in concluding the wage review process, the union has chosen to adopt tools of agitation/ hunger strike etc. which is nothing but pressure tactics for pursuing their unreasonable and unrealistic demands,” said Zanzari.

This article originally appeared in the Live Mint.

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