Protesting against unfair terminations and the intransigence of the Bajaj Auto management in collective bargaining negotiations, the union launched an indefinite hunger strike on 29 January in Pune.
According to the Bajaj workers’ union, management has been delaying issues raised by the workers.
There has been no meaningful progress made to reinstate the eight workers terminated in 2013.
In 2016, the management unilaterally reneged its commitment for a wage revision according to the collective bargaining agreement, valid for 2010 – 2019, mandating a wage revision in consultation with the union for every three years. Instead, management unilaterally revised wages, much lower than what union has demanded. Furthermore, in an attempt to bring division among unionized workers, the management deposited unilaterally revised wages in bank accounts of workers in Chakan plant and non-unionized staff of Akurdi plant. However, unionized workers in Akurdi plant were denied wage rise.
During the same period, management transferred six workers – active union members – in October 2016. The union challenged the unfair transfer in the industrial court and the court issued a stay order in favour of the workers. Management responded by dismissing the six workers.
The union has held 40 meetings with the management. But as management has refused to budge in the negotiations and used delaying tactics in court proceedings, no conclusion has been reached.
Dilip Pawar, President of Vishwakalyan Kamgar Sanghatana, the union that represents both Chakan and Akurdi plants workers of the Bajaj Auto Ltd, has gone on hunger strike to press forward these long-pending union demands.
In solidarity with the union president, workers in Chakan and Akurdi plants are boycotting breakfast and lunch provided by the company.
Dilip Pawar says that the union has tried to resolve the issues through dialogue:
As no conclusion could be reached, we have launched this indefinite hunger strike out of frustration and helplessness. We call upon the management to address the genuine issues raised by workers.
Georg Leutert, IndustriALL automotive director says:
It is shocking that Bajaj Auto, one of the major auto manufacturers in India, has resorted to unjust terminations, transfers and denial of wage rise to unionized workers.
Bajaj Auto must respect the workers’ right to collective bargaining and take immediate steps to resolve issues through dialogue and maintain industrial peace.
The union of the Bajaj autoworkers, Vishwakalyan Kamgar Sanghatana is affiliated to IndustriALL affiliate Shramik Ekta Mahasangh (SEM).