Consider this: A five-fold increase in basic salary, a monthly conveyance allowance of more than Rs. 10,000, a laundry allowance of Rs. 3,000 and a gift with every new car launch.
These and a house for everybody and cheaper home loans for those who want to build their own houses were some of the demands the Maruti Suzuki India Workers’ Union at Manesar placed before the management on April 18.
If implemented, a permanent worker of Maruti Suzuki India would have seen a four-fold hike in his gross pay to more than
Rs 1 lakh a month.
Currently, a permanent worker at Manesar gets a basic pay of Rs. 5,100, plus Rs. 1,775 for conveyance and Rs. 260 for laundry. With house rent allowance, bonuses and incentives, the gross pay comes to about Rs. 23,350 a month.
But the negotiations that were in the final stages have now fizzled out because of the violence in the factory premises that left one dead, 100 injured and the twin factories under lockout.
“The union leaders’ lack of experience was quite visible in the charter of demands as the Manesar union was very new,” said SY Siddiqui, chief operating officer. “We had to reason with them and explain how the process works. We were getting there, but the tragedy has changed everything.”
HT, however, could not reach the main negotiator, union general secretary Sarabjeet Singh, who is now absconding and being hunted by the state police for Wednesday's violence.
The demands do not end with salary hikes. The union also wanted the number of sick and casual leaves to be doubled, besides 35 days of privilege leave, instead of 20 — altogether 75 days of leave in a year.
If the weekly holiday on Sunday, national holidays and two weeks of mandatory factory shutdown are taken into account, the number of leaves swells to over 150 days a year. In effect, a worker at Manesar would be working every alternate day.