WORKERS OF the Tata Motors Employees Union, who have been agitating for months seeking a hike in their pay and are allegedly locked in a running feud with the management, said they received “a soothing balm” from Ratan Tata — the interim chairman of the Tata group — infusing them with new energy, strength and hope.
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A delegation of the employees’ union from Pune plant met Tata at his office in Mumbai on Saturday “to express their support for his leadership and his continuity in the larger interest of the group and its employees.”
General secretary Suresh Jasud said Tata was visibly moved by their plight. “When we told him that the workers had fasted for 62 days to get their wage agreement signed, Ratan Tata was moved by our plight and wasted no time in telling us that he will soon come to Pune to interact and share lunch with the workers… this is a heartening development,” said Jasud.
The workers apprised Ratan Tata about their ongoing feud with the management over the signing of a wage agreement. “Our wage agreement has been pending for 14 months now. The management has been making unreasonable demands, including approving unlimited block closure. Therefore, we had to fast for 62 days,” said Sanjay Kale, working president.
President of the union, Samir Dhumal, said so far 17 meetings have been held with the management under Cyrus Mistry but the wage agreement is still stuck. “We had also met Mistry. He was cordial and gave instructions to top officials, but nothing happened,” said Vishnu Newale, former president of the union.
“Mistry had come to Pune plant but never enquired about our plight. And therefore, Ratan Tata’s words have eased our pain and given us new energy and hope. We always expected it from him and he has not let us down,” said Jasud.
When contacted, a Tata official said,”We have already settled the bonus agreement before Diwali with the workers and the wage agreement will also be sorted out soon.”
In Pimpri, the employees union held a “first-of-its-kind” press conference on Sunday. Representatives owing allegiance to various parties were also present. “The employees at Tata Motors Pune plant are deeply concerned over the rift between Tata Sons and the leadership of Tata Group companies. Moreover, the once cordial relations between Tata Motors and Pune plant management and employees have taken a downward turn… However, during this time of turmoil we reiterate our complete commitment to the decisions taken by Ratan Tata over the change in leadership of Tata Sons Ltd,” the union leaders said. A letter of support has been given to Guenter Butschek, CEO and managing director of Tata Motors Ltd.
The union leaders said nearly three lakh workers and suppliers are dependent on Tata Motors in Pune. “For the future of these workers and their families, the leadership of Ratan Tata is desperately needed,” they said.