Bajaj Auto strike is getting interesting for the students of employee
latest development in the story is that the union has complained to the Labour
Commissioner regarding use of trainees as regular workers, in other words,
alleging that the Company was misusing the ‘Learn and Earn’ scheme for full
time production. They have alleged violation of Labour laws in this aspect.
fact is that the relations with employees are strained. Issuing Company shares
to employees at a throw away price is not the issue in contest. Nobody is now
even talking about it. Those who have read our earlier blog post [Link
see that the real issue is something else. Mistrust, suspicion are the basis of
this relationship today.
mind, the roots are in the history. Bajaj Auto abruptly closed its Akurdi unit.
The issue got resolved through intervention of Sharad Pawar. Memories of those days
are fresh in the minds of people as yet. It is true that Chakan employees were
not involved then, but a dispute of that nature and scale leaves its indelible
mark. It creates a certain image of the employer which as we understand Bajaj
did nothing to erase. People respond to the image, particularly in a large organization
like Bajaj Auto.
is a news report which suggests that other auto industry workers are likely to
show sympathy by resorting to a token strike or at least support them. This, if
done, will take the agitation on a higher scale. The common fear is that what
happens at Bajaj might happen to them.
and Learn scheme’ is one of the most misused schemes. Effectively it allows labour
at cheap rate to employers under the garb of training. It is alleged that it
involves vested interests of a Minister in the Govt. of Maharashtra. I am given
to understand that the unions have already taken this to the court and in the
case of Bajaj; they have initiated the process certainly.
industry in India is getting attention of international unions. The Shramik
Ekta Mahasangh launched by unions in Pune is affiliated to IndustriALL Global
Union, in which International Metalworkers Federation merged. Readers of this
blog will recall that recently an international delegation visited Maruti Suzuki
and published a report ‘Merchants of Menace.’
The international delegation [of International International Commission for Labor Rights]
is supported by IndustriALL Global Union. This means that the Government will not be able to keep quiet if the situation goes out of control. In Manesar it was a willing accomplice as the report says, but doing it in Pune is not going to be easy. Particularly so when elections seem to be on the anvil.
so, the dice at this juncture seems to be loaded against the workers. Clearly
the parties are on a collision path. Political intervention will only bring
about a truce. But as any student of conflict management knows, the parties
start collecting ammunition for the next battle as the one on hand ends.
break out of this vicious cycle requires a will, and great leadership. Time will tell
whether or not Bajaj Auto has it.