New Delhi: The workers’ union at Hero MotoCorp Ltd has warned the management it will resort to strikes if a wage negotiation isn’t settled in two weeks, two people familiar with the development said.
The two-wheeler maker has held at least 55 meetings in the past year with the union but hasn’t taken a decision yet, said a senior member of the union at Hero’s Gurgaon plant.
“If they are not willing to take a decision then there are very few options that we are left with. We will have to resort to some stern measures and (a) tool-down strike is a likely option,” said the union member, declining to be identified. “We have had a meeting with the management three days back and the message was conveyed to them. Even the labour department officials were present there.”
A spokesman for Hero MotoCorp said the company had not received any such notice from the union but said the management hoped to reach a solution through talks.
“We have not been given any such intimation/notice by the union. We have been holding talks with members of the union at our Gurgaon plant with the hope of a reasonable and sustainable settlement,” he said.
A tool-down strike may lead to a disruption in production, said an analyst with a Mumbai-based brokerage firm.
“The implications could be similar to what happened at Maruti (Suzuki India Ltd),” said Bhaumik Bhatia, sector analyst, IDBI Capital Market Services Ltd. “The pressure will be higher on Hero as others in the belt have done wage settlement recently. The immediate impact will be on despatches but retail will not be impacted in the near term due to inventory in the channel.”
A second union member at the plant, also requesting anonymity, said workers are demanding a salary hike of Rs.18,000-20,000 per month spread over three years, a group housing scheme and a retirement policy, among others. The union has submitted a demand charter to the management.
The Hero spokesman declined to share specific details on the talks “until we reach an amicable conclusion”.
Hero employs 5,500 workers at its Gurgaon facility, paying them an average monthly salary of Rs.46,000.
The spokesman said Hero is already one of the top paymasters in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt and that it was unfair of the union to demand the kind of raises offered to workers of other companies in the belt.
Recently, car maker Maruti Suzuki settled its labour woes by offering a 50% raise for 2,800 workers at its Gurgaon plant and for 700 workers at its Manesar plant.
“Certain companies operating in the region have given very high wage hike in recent times in an effort to catch up with our kind of pay structures,” the Hero spokesman said. “Therefore, it is totally unfair to demand similar hikes in wages at our plant, as our wage structure is already far superior than most other companies.”
Hero raised wages across the board in November 2011, increasing monthly pay for its workers by Rs.6,500. Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd increased salaries for its workers by at least Rs.14,500 a month in December.