Bangalore: Workers at the Mysore factory of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, a business division of Wipro Ltd, have struck work since Tuesday over a wage dispute, halting the production of compact fluorescent light bulbs and tubelights at the peak of the festive season.
On edge: Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting chief Vineet Agrawal. Namas Bhojani / Bloomberg
The workers’ union, affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress (Aituc), went on strike over a wage settlement pending since February. The factory, located in the Hootagalli industrial area on the outskirts of Mysore, employs nearly 250 workers.
The workers are demanding a wage hike of Rs5,000 a month and negotiations for pay increases once in three years, effective May this year. The average monthly wage for employees was Rs3,700, said H.R. Sheshadri, the local Aituc general secretary who also heads the workers’ union. Unions at three of the seven Wipro factories across India are affiliated to Aituc.
The eight-year-old Mysore plant is equipped to produce 37 million lamps of different categories in a year.
A Wipro statement said the firm was keen to sign a four-year wage settlement and is open to discussions as soon as the strike ends.
Wipro had offered a wage hike of Rs1,000 a month, said Seshadri, adding the union was prepared to compromise on its demand and accept an increase of Rs2,500. The management had refused to budge, he said. The union gave the mandatory 20 days’ notice before it went on strike, he said.
An official at the Karnataka labour department said it has called for tripartite talks on Friday with the workers’ union and the management to settle the row.
The consumer care and lighting business posted revenues of Rs527 crore for the second quarter ended September, less than one-tenth of the Rs6,507 crore Wipro earned during the period. Wipro is also India’s third biggest computer services firm.