As HAL workers start 'indefinite strike', company says protest 'illegal' as conciliatory proceedings are on

As the workers of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) started their "indefinite strike" on Monday, the management termed the protest "illegal" as conciliatory proceedings are on. 

The HAL workers on Sunday decided to go ahead with strike after talks with the management over demands including wage revision failed.

In a press release on Monday, an HAL spokesperson said, "The strike is illegal as conciliatory proceedings are on and against the advice of labour authorities who want the unions to arrive at amicable solution without resorting to agitational means." 

The HAL unions have shown total disregard to the organization classified as Defence Establishment under ‘Public Utility Service’, the Bengaluru-based company said. 

It said that the HAL employee unions have gone on illegal and indefinite strike despite the management offering the best revised wage package.

"The HAL management’s offer is reasonable, fair and in conformity with the wage agreements finalized by other Defence PSUs. Instead of appreciating this the unions have come up with the demands that are unviable in the current and futuristic business scenario. The unsustainability and untenability has been explained to the unions several times," the statement issued by Gopal Sutar, Chief of Media Communications, said.

On Sunday, the state-owned company had said that "despite management's concerted efforts towards bringing an amicable/early wage settlement, unions unfortunately have adopted a recalcitrant approach and did not accept the offer and decided to resort to indefinite strike." 

"Management has also offered to enhance allowances under Cafeteria system @22% for workmen in Scale-1 to 10 & 20% for workmen in special scale as against uniform rate of 19% offered earlier and also assured that all the workmen will stand benefitted in terms of allowance on account of introduction of cafeteria system," it said. 

It added that on the 2nd day of the negotiation the management offered revised rate of fitment benefit at 11%.

Adding, the company on Monday said that there is no justification and rationale in the demand of the unions to extend the benefits (fitment benefit and allowances) on par or more than executives, when salary revision of executives was effected from January 1, 2017 after stipulated 10 year period. 

The HAL management has left no stone unturned for mutually acceptable resolution of the issue. In the regard, a series of 11 meetings were held, the last two on October 12 and 13, it said. 

The company said it hopes that the large majority of its workers would appreciate and accept the management’s position. 

An apex body of the employee unions had on Sunday claimed that the HAL management 'refused' to consider their "fair and reasonable demands".

Earlier in June, about 500 employees of HAL had gone on an indefinite relay hunger strike, demanding settlement of wages and also salaries on par with other public sector undertakings.