Holding its ground in front of the agitating workers of plant at Chakan site, Bajaj Auto refused to come to an agreement under force of an illegal strike. The decision was taken even as the auto maker has changed the production location of its most successful Pulsar model to the Aurangabad plant. “We are obliged to discuss the wage agreement, however, we will not do so under the pressure of an illegal strike accompanied by daily instances of violence against those seeking to rejoin work,” said the Managing Director of Bajaj Auto, Rajiv Bajaj.
Following the management's refusal to allow them to have shares at a subsidised price, the company workers of Chakan site are not reporting for work. Stressing that the Bajaj Auto has been able to overcome the impact of the strike by shifting production to other plant, he added, “We have started Pulsar production at Aurangabad and have already reached a level of 600 (units) per day. Today, we should produce 2,000 bikes between Chakan and Aurangabad, i.e. 66 per cent of normal production, signifying that the union's approach is fading with each passing day.”
The workmen's union of the auto maker's Chakan plant, Vishwa Kalyan Kamgar Sanghatana had made a host of demands, including 25 per cent wage hike, which will make the contract workers permanent employees. Around 2000 employees presently working at the plant, it is the 1000 temporary ones that are seeking confirmation. The management on the other hand said it had refused to concede demand “that all the workmen working in Bajaj Auto should each be given an option to subscribe to 500 equity shares of the company at a discounted price of Rs. 1 per share.”
Bajaj said that the demand of the union for regularisation of contract workers was irrelevant diversionary tactic as they are "engaged in non-production areas such as canteen, transport, gardening etc.” When questioned if the company has approached Maharashtra government for help in resolving the issue, Bajaj further added, “The state's labour ministry and its local offices are intimately involved and are playing a proactive and positive role in helping the union understand the futility of their actions.”
On whether the auto maker will declare a lockout at the Chakan plant, Bajaj said, “Since an illegal strike has already been called by the union, the question of a lockout is redundant.” He also said “a verdict is expected soon” by the industrial court in Pune, where the company has approached seeking the strike to be declared illegal.