Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Sun Pharma sales staff on strike over pending wages

Over 500 Sun Pharma sales representatives are on a day's strike over release of the illegally deducted wages and recategorization of sales executives

Mumbai: As part of strengthening their agitation against India’s largest drug maker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives’ Associations of India (FMRAI), has announced one-day strike by over 500 Sun Pharma sales representatives on Monday.

Sun Pharma and FMRAI, the largest union of medical sales representatives in India, have locked their horns for the past year after Sun Pharma allegedly transferred and demoted some employees of Ranbaxy which Sun acquired last year. The $3.5 billion Sun-Ranbaxy merger was completed in March 2015.

Earlier, FMRAI had approached the Maharashtra Industrial Court in Mumbai, where the court had directed Sun Pharma to immediately release the pending wages of 86 employees who joined Sun Pharma after its merger with Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd.

The FMRAI had filed a lawsuit against Sun Pharma in June, alleging that the company was indulging in unfair labour practices after it withheld salary and expenses of 86 sales representatives since May.

The major demands of Monday’s strike include immediate release of the illegally deducted wages of sales staff and recategorization of sales executives as medical sales representatives (MSRs).

The Union has demanded to release all pending salary and expenses to all MSRs in Pharmacare & Stancare division of Sun Pharma.

“The sale promotion employees shall resort to demonstration, dharna and other industrial actions in pursuance of the demands," said Santanu Chatterjee, general secretary, FMRAI, in his letter to Sun Pharma management, dated 8 September.

A Sun Pharma spokesperson could not be reached immediately for comments.

The striking fieldworkers will be staging a demonstration in front of the State Labour Commissioner’s office in all states and memorandum will be submitted demanding the intervention of Maharashtra Labour department, an FMRAI spokesperson said.

In January, the FMRAI filed a petition against Sun Pharma in the Punjab and Haryana high court, alleging the company’s violation of the directions given by the court at the time of the merger approval by transferring senior medical sales representatives of Ranbaxy.

In December, the FMRAI had filed a separate case against Sun Pharma under the MRTU & PULP, citing unfair labour practices regarding the transfer of 54 sales representatives, most of whom belonged to the FMRAI.

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