Pune-based motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj Auto has refuted the charges levelled by one of its employee unions, Vishwa Kalyan Kamgar Sanghatana (VKKS), which has called for a hunger strike on January 7-8, 2017.
The key reason cited by the worker union is that the company management has declared a unilateral wage rise at the Chakan Plant and is pressurising it to accept the wage-rise declared, by adopting pressure tactics like transfer of workmen from the Chakan facility to other plants and giving false show cause notices. The pending issue of 8 workmen dismissed from services in 2013 is mentioned as one of the reasons.
In a press statement issued earlier today, Kailash J Zanzari, senior VP (Manufacturing), Bajaj Auto, says, “The facts are contrary. The management was very proactive in its approach and had started the process of review from February 2016 itself.
“The management had given various proposals to the union, for the salary/ wage increase and negotiations were about to conclude. However, to our surprise, the union put forth an unreasonable and unrealistic demand of reinstatement of the workers of the Chakan plant, who were dismissed in 2013-14 for committing various acts of misconduct and whose cases are pending for adjudication before the court. The court has also not given any Interim relief in these cases,” he added.
Bajaj Auto says the workers were given a salary hike – ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 11,500 for a three-year period from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2019 – ahead of the festival season in October 2016 and arrears for the April-September 2016 period paid immediately.
“As regards transfer and/or deputation of workmen to different plants, Bajaj Auto says this is “a regular practice, on the basis of requirement of skills and need at other plants. In the present context, the union has filed four cases in the court challenging the transfer/ deputation of workmen from Chakan to other plants. Bajaj Auto says, in three cases, the Industrial Court, Pune, in its interim order, has held that the company has every right to transfer employees from one plant to other plants.
The company says, “VKKS leadership is always unreasonable and raises unrelated demands. During the last wage review, which was due from April 2013, the union had come up with a similar unrealistic demand of allotment of shares to workmen and resorted to a strike which lasted for 50 days causing huge financial losses to the workmen and ultimately realised their mistake and came back to work unconditionally. This time, it is the demand for reinstatement of dismissed workmen.
“The union should not raise the issues which are in fact non-existent and extend full support in growth and development of the company rather than creating unnecessary hindrances in the smooth functioning of the company.”