HAL Employees' Indefinite Strike Continues as Unions Reject Management's 'Fair' Offer
While the HAL management claims that they have put forth the best offer within their limits, the union insists that they will not budge until their demands are met.
Members of All India HAL trade unions stage a protest during their strike to demand for fair and early settlement of wage revision of employees, in Bengaluru. (PTI Photo)
Bengaluru: The All India HAL Trade Union's Co-ordination Committee (AIHALTUCC), which has been on an indefinite strike for the past two days, said on Monday that the employees will intensify their agitation as the management has stated that there is no room for negotiation.
19,000 employees of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have been demanding the implementation of wage revision settlement, which they claim should have come into effect from January 1, 2017. 11 rounds of negotiations have taken pace so far, with meetings held on October 12 and 13, but the two sides have failed to reach an impasse.
While the HAL management claims that they have put forth the best offer within their limits, the union insists that they will not budge until their demands are met. The major bone of contention between the two sides has been the employees’ demand that there should be a 15 percent increase in fitment benefits and a 35 percent increase in perks, similar to the one given to the executives.
However, following the negotiations, the management only agreed to an 11 percent increase in fitment benefits and a 22 percent increase in cafeteria allowance.
"Our financial condition is good as of today but we have to maintain that. The unions need to consider the 2012 interim revision that was given. At HAL, the increments have been as good as other Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU’s). On an average, there is at least a 15% increase where employees will get an additional Rs 5000," said CB Ananthakrishnan, HAL Director (Finance).
After much negotiations, the unions had agreed to the 10 year periodicity criteria, which is why even though the management says that the 2012 wage revision should be taken into account, the union claims that the wage revision which should have come into effect in 2017 is already accounted for and the new revision should be for the next 10 years.
The chief convenor of the AIHALTUCC, Suryadev Chandrashekar, said that the management needs to stop lying and distorting facts to the media. "Management’s contention is that they will protect the wages, but how will they explain the negative increments? If the allowance of a person is Rs 10,000, after the revision he should get Rs 15,000, but here we are seeing that it is getting reduced to Rs 6000?" he claimed.
This is the first time since 1983 that HAL employees have gone on an indefinite strike. While the management is hopeful that they will reach some middle ground, it continues to maintain that the strike will not impact the current production pipeline.
"Our order-book is strong with orders worth Rs 50-60,000 crore in hand, and this could suffice for another 3 years but we have to be cost neutral. We can't let this effect the clients," Ananthakrishnan added.
With over 19,000 employees across different centres in Bengaluru, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Nasik all participating in the strike, it is bound to bring losses for HAL. However, the management steered away from quantifying these losses, stating that they will ensure that 'serviceability to the forces is not impacted'.
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