Close to 450 Tata Motors Sanand plant workers who had been engaged in talks with the Tata management since 18 months for wage hike on Saturday, decided to boycott canteen meals offered by the company until a settlement is reached over the workers’ long term settlement (LTS).
While Tata officials have held several meetings with the workers union Bharatiya Kamdar Ekta Sangh Sanand (BKSS) in May aided by the state labour department, the current bone of contention remains the percentage of arrears for the worker’s LTS. On Saturday morning, workers are learnt to have brought their own meals to the Sanand plant and skipped the company meals offered at 10:30 am and later in the day at 7 pm in the following shift.
A worker Harpalsinh Jhala told the paper,”Close to 450 of the permanent employees who are part of the union have decided to boycott the company meals offered from Saturday, until a settlement regarding the wages is reached and signed by both parties. However we have not stopped work at any given point and plant has been functioning normally.
“Things are very close to being resolved after we have had close to 10 meetings with Tata officials. However there is a disagreement only on one point of arrears and we are to meet with the company officials on Monday and hope things will be resolved soon. Many workers are dissatisfied with the pace of the reconciliation process and hence decided to boycott company meals, as they are facing financial duress due to the delay in arriving at the LTS.”
Close on the heels of Tata signing a landmark wage settlement with Pune Worker’s Union in March for 3 years, the Tata Motors and Sanand plant workers union was expected to sign a wage settlement agreement for 5 years this month Sources close to the development said that while the workers have demanded that a lumpsum amount of close to 70% of their arrears for 2015-2017 while the company is looking to offer 30%.
In a statement issued by Tata Motors on Saturday, it cited,”Some of the workers have opted not to use the canteen services and made their lunch arrangements through lunch packs from their home. This was done to demand an earlier settlement of the LTS (Long Term Settlement). As you are aware, the LTS matter is under conciliation and internal negotiations are also going on daily basis. The management is committed to resolve this matter and is in daily dialogues with the workmen and the union and is hopeful that good sense will prevail.”
Earlier on May 29th, the matter related to the workers’ Charter of Demand (COD) was recommended for referral by the conciliation officer. The worker’s union had also been asked to justify the basis for wage hike in writing ahead of June 8th, when the next meeting of both parties with the labour department officials is scheduled to take place.