Another round of tripartite talks held by the Gujarat labour department Friday failed to resolve the four-week-old standoff between Tata Motors and its Sanand plant workers who have now decided to go ahead with their mega protest Saturday near the unit. Besides 422 striking workers, representatives of 22 central and city-based trade unions and farmers from nearby villages are expected to join the protest outside the Gate no. 2 of Sanand GIDC (Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation).
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The talks failed even as the representatives of the workers agreed to the condition put forth by Tata Motors, seeking signatures of 70 per cent of striking workmen that they will unanimously accept the outcome of further negotiation done by their newly registered union. The company also referred to the union as “ad hoc”. According to the workers, the company officials did not give any assurance to the representatives of the workers, who are on a strike since February 22, on revocation of suspension of 26 co-workers.
The labour department in a step towards addressing the strike had given its official recognition Thursday to “Bhartiya Kamdar Ekta Sangh Sanand”, the workers’ union leading the stir. Tata Motors in an official release, however, said that it did not receive any communication about the registration of the workers’ union for Sanand plant where Nano is manufactured.
M S Patel, assistant labour commissioner, told The Indian Express that the Tata Motors officials had been “verbally apprised of the registration of the new Tata Motors workers’ union” on Thursday.
In the press release on Friday, Tata Motors stated: “Tata Motors thanks the DLC Ahmedabad for mediating when he called the meeting with the worker representatives to resolve this illegal strike.
The meeting concluded with the understanding that the ad hoc Workmen Committee will submit tomorrow the authorisation that clearly shows at least 70% of the striking workmen authorised this committee for future negotiations, with a meeting planned for next week.”
The state labour department has planned another round of tripartite talks on March 21.
“In the recent talks, Tata Motors management asked us to get signatures of all the 422 striking workers stating that we are representing them and that we have the final call in the negotiation process which will happen again on Monday. The management did not even speak on the issue of the reinstatement of the 26 workers that has been our primary demand. The management is simply delaying the negotiation process by coming up with new issues, whereas we told them of our readiness to resume work tomorrow if they resolve our demand. We will go ahead with our mega protest rally outside Sanand GIDC as planned. We are expecting 1,500 to 2,000 people to join the protest,” said Hitesh Rabari, one of the representatives of the striking workers.