Unions cry foul, refute HAL’s claims on wage hike

Staff strike for wage revision HAL operations

Bengaluru, Oct 15 : Refuting the company’s charge that their indefinite strike for wage hike was illegal, 9 unions of the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Tuesday accused its management of indulging in double standards.

“Our strike since Monday is legal as we gave the notice on September 30 as per the Industrial Disputes Act and informed the regional labour commissioner on going for tool down from October 14 if our demands were not met,” All India HAL Trade Unions’ coordination committee general secretary S. Chandrasekhar told IANS here.

Charging the management of misleading the public on wage revision due since January 1, 2017 for a 5-year period, the union leader said the company did not issue any order on their demand, forcing them to resort to strike with prior notice.

“Our demand is the benefits for us should be on par with the other PSUs (public sector undertakings) and in compliance with the wage agreements applicable to all the public sector enterprises (PSEs),” asserted Chandrasekhar.

Noting that the strike was the first in the 55-year-old defence behemoth, Chandrasekhar said the company had entered into an agreement with its executives on January 1, 2017 offering them higher wage revision and a raw deal for the workforce.

“The company’s contention of workforce having two wage revisions of 5 years in 10 years is far from truth because there were not two revisions but one wage revision given in two parts from 2007-12 and 2012-2016, due to which we suffered huge financial losses, while the executives got more benefits during the same period (2007-2016),” Chandrasekhar claimed.

The strike by about 20,000 HAL workforce entered the second day, grounding the company’s operations at all its 9 locations across the country.

Reiterating that the company would not offer more than 11 per cent and 20-22 per cent hike in perks for the two grades of workmen, HAL Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Anantha Krishnan told reporters earlier in the day there was no scope to go beyond its offer as part of the wage revision.

“As of now, I don’t see we have room to go beyond what we have offered, the CFO said and hoped the employees’ unions would accept the offer and call off the strike to resume work.

The unions have sought a wage revision on par with what is given to the executives, which is a 35 per cent hike in gross salary and a 110-140 per cent hike in perks.

The aerospace major has production complexes in Bengaluru in Karnataka, Hyderabad in Telangana, Koraput in Odisha, Korwa, Kanpur and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Nashik in Maharashtra.

AAbout 10,000 employees work in the company’s Bengaluru production complex and the remaining 10,000 in eight locations across the country./Eom/460 words.

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