Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday referred a wage dispute between Bajaj Auto Ltd and its labour union to an industrial court.

“The court said let the industrial court decide whether the termination of the wage agreement is legal or illegal," said Kailash Zanzari, vice president (manufacturing),
at Bajaj Auto’s Chakan plant near Pune, who was present in the high court for the hearing on Friday.

Bajaj Auto had approached the court challenging the union Vishwa Kalyan Kamgar Sangathan’s (VKKS) decision in March 2013 to terminate its wage agreement with workers at the Chakan plant.

“Bajaj Auto had filed a Writ Petition in the High Court challenging the order of the Deputy Commissioner of Labour, Pune on 7th October last year, wherein Labour Department referred new demands of the union to the Industrial Tribunal, Pune, inspite of the fact that the settlement dated 21st May 2010 is in vogue, which is valid till 31st March 2019," Bajaj said in a statement on Friday.

“The high court has refused to grant a stay petition on the proceedings before the industrial tribunal court," said a lawyer representing VKKS.

Dissatisfied with the increments and emoluments that are part of the nine-year wage agreement, VKKS terminated the agreement on 9 March last year. As part of the pact, workers were entitled to a 12% hike in 2011-12, and 8% each in 2012-13 and 2013-14. The writ petition in the Bombay high court was heard by a division bench comprising Justices Anoop V. Mohta and M.S. Sonak.

VKKS plans to initiate work stoppage at Bajaj Auto’s plant in Chakan from 28 April. The workers have been sparring over the wage agreement and other demands including allotment of the company’s shares at a discounted rate. Bajaj’s Chakan plant that produces the Pulsar, KTM and Avenger motorcycles accounts for 25% of its total volume.

Bajaj’s shares closed at Rs1,996.90 each, down 0.39%, on Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) at the end of trading on Friday. The benchmark Sensex index closed at 22,688.07 points, down 0.82%.