18 July, 2013Bajaj Auto workers in the Chakan Plant, Pune are now in their fourth week of “Work Stoppage” calling for decent employment conditions in a new collective agreement. The 1,500 employees, including 600 contract, temporary and 'earn-and-learn' trainees have the full support of IndustriALL Global Union.
The Vishwa Kalyan Kamgar Sangathan (VKKS) union, an IndustriALL affiliate is organising a protest of 800 strikers outside Bajaj Auto’s corporate office in Akurdy, Pune suburb.
The VKKS, as the recognised trade union bargaining partner at Bajaj Auto signed a wage settlement on 21 May 2010, for a span of 9 years, wherein it was agreed that wages will be reviewed and revised periodically every 3 years. Bajaj Management refused to review the existing wage settlement and refused to discuss the demands submitted by the Union.
The strike has prevented the production of at least 25,000 units. Management has begun transferring production to its sister plant in Aurangabad, and has appealed to the labour court to have the strike declared illegal.
A large gathering of Bajaj Auto Workers and their family members was held at Kandoba Mandir Hall, Pune on 14 July at 12 noon. Family members of the workers participated in large numbers and expressed their support for the agitation. Women addressed the gathering and articulated their solidarity and support. The meeting was also addressed by President Pawar of IndustriALL-affiliated VKKS, and IndustriALL Regional Secretary Sudhershan Rao among others.
IndustriALL Regional Secretary Rao criticized the Industrial relations of the Bajaj management and demanded an immediate resolution to the dispute through good faith negotiations on wage increases and shares in line with the current wage agreement.
Union president Pawar demands a fair salary for the workers, in light of the extremely positive financial performance of the plant.
Upon a complaint from the Union, the Department of Labour inspected the work premises of the factory and found trainees and new recruits performing the jobs of the regular workers, who are on stoppage of work. Engaging workers in place of regular workers during an agitation is an unfair labour practice. Therefore, the Department found the management indulging in unfair labour practices and issued a show cause notice.