HAL union threatens strike after wage hike talks with management fails

Employees are “disappointed and dejected” with offers made by the management, said Suryadev Chandrashekhar, general secretary of the committee.
The talks were held on Saturday, two months after the union held a relay hunger strike protesting against disparity in the perks offered to executives and workers.(HT image)
The talks were held on Saturday, two months after the union held a relay hunger strike protesting against disparity in the perks offered to executives and workers.(HT image)
Updated on Aug 27, 2019 01:32 AM IST
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Bengaluru | ByVikram Gopal

The All India HAL Trade Unions Coordination Committee (AIHALTUCC) said on Monday that it plans to launch an indefinite strike after discussions on a wage revision with management of state-run military planemaker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) broke down.

The talks were held on Saturday, two months after the union held a relay hunger strike protesting against disparity in the perks offered to executives and workers. The revision has been pending since 2017, when the executives’ pay was revised.

Employees are “disappointed and dejected” with offers made by the management, said Suryadev Chandrashekhar, general secretary of the committee.

The union had demanded more than the 15% increase in fitment -- or basic salary -- and 35% rise in perks that were awarded to executives of the company in 2017. The management offered “offered only 11% fitment, 21% perks”, Chandrashekhar said.

The strike plan comes at a time when HAL is working on a number of critical projects including the light combat aircraft, light utility helicopter, medium lift helicopter, multi-role transport aircraft and advanced medium combat aircraft apart from a fifth generation fighter plane.

“Convenors have rejected the offer made by the management instantly and held a post AIHALTUCC meeting wherein chief convenor has proposed to the entire nine divisions’ unions [to go on an] indefinite strike to achieve more than 15% fitment and 35% perks,” Chandrashekhar said, adding that a decision will be taken soon on when the strike would be launched.

Employee issues at HAL had hit national headlines in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year and led to a political slugfest between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. Congress president Rahul Gandhi held a meeting with the HAL unions in Bengaluru last October, alleging that the Centre had changed the terms of the Rafale aircraft deal with French planemaker Dassault Aviation to exclude HAL.

The HAL Management said it was regrettable that the Committee had decided to go on a strike. “Most of their contention is untenable,” said a HAL executive, requesting anonymity.

“The claim of the Unions that HAL management is deliberately delaying wage settlement and that offers given to them are meagre is not true as many rounds of discussions have already been held, some stretching for days.” The person said, adding that the process could be completed only with “the cooperation of the Unions, based on realistic and affordable expectations”.

“The views expressed by the Unions that pay scales of executives among PSUs {public sector undertakings} including HAL are same whereas wages of workmen in other PSUs are more than HAL, are incorrect,” the person said. “Revision of (compensation paid to) executives is notified by the Government. In respect of workmen, it is negotiated with the Unions. The HAL management is always open to concluding the workers’ wage revision expeditiously.”

The person added: “They expressed willingness to continue talks so we don’t expect them to follow through on the strike.”

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Friday, December 03, 2021