Biggest Bajaj Auto workers union gets court recognition

Biggest Bajaj Auto workers union gets court recognition

Pune: The ongoing stalemate between workers unions and the management of two-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto Ltd took a new twist with the Pune industrial court on Tuesday saying the automaker’s biggest workers group, Vishwa Kalyan Sanghatana or VKS, would be the “recognized" union at the firm’s Akurdi mother plant since it had support of the majority of the workers.

The court simultaneously revoked the recognized union status accorded to another worker group Bharatiya Kamgar Sena or BKS, backed by the Shiv Sena party, partly on whose support company chairman Rahul Bajaj got elected to the Rajya Sabha last year.

The Bajaj Auto management has been negotiating workers’ issues such as wages only with BKS in the last two years.

VKS insists that it will hold talks with the firm’s management only after it allows workers into the premises of the Akurdi factory that has been shut down since 1 September.

Some 1,400 workers have been striking work since then demanding that Bajaj Auto bring back production of two-wheelers shifted out to units at Aurangabad and Uttarakhand.

VKS, which is fighting the BKS union recognition since November 2005, says it has the support of more than 1,600 of the 2,700 workers at Akurdi, while BKS has a following of just a few hundred.

Vijay Shelar, general secretary of BKS said it would appeal on Tuesday’s court decision but was awaiting details before any action.

In an unrelated development, meanwhile, more than 4,000 workers at Bajaj Auto’s plant near Aurangabad have been offered a voluntary retirement scheme.