On October 23, following a High Court order, the workmen at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have called off their indefinite strike that lasted for 10 days. The employees marked their presence at work in the nine units across the country barring Nashik unit, reported Bangalore Mirror.
On October 22, the Karnataka High Court passed an interim order directing the Bengaluru division’s Hindustan Aeronautics Employees Association (HAEA) to withdraw the strike. The workmen were even restrained from continuing any form of agitation including go-slow production or work to rule actions among others.
The management of HAL had approached the High Court earlier claiming that a loss of Rs 17 crore is being incurred every day because of the strike.
“Though the strike has been called off, the issue, the wage issue still remains unresolved,” said Surya Devra Chandrashekhar, chief convenor of AIHALTUCC, while speaking to NewsClick, “the workmen’s union will contest the High Court judgement by approaching a double bench.”
The workers of the public defence undertaking complained of “discrimination” in the salary increments of workmen and executives. Nearly 20,000 of them have been on an indefinite strike since October 14. The strike was led by All India HAL Trade Unions Coordination Committee (AIHALTUCC)—an umbrella body of all the nine recognised unions across the country.
According to the union, the delay in wage revision of the workmen “forced” them to take up the path of agitation. The wage revision of the workmen is pending since 2017.
The interim order also directs the HAL management to resume the negotiations and settle the deadlock at the earliest. As a result, on Wednesday, another conciliation meeting was held in Bengaluru in the presence of the Regional Labour Commissioner where epresentatives of both—management and workmen’s union—were present.
The main contention is the difference in the wage revisions of the executives and the workmen. The workmen have been offered 11% and 22% fitment and perks, respectively, as against the executives, who are being awarded with 15% fitment and 35% perks.
Moreover, what remained strange, amid all this, was the silence maintained by the Modi government, especially, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and its Union Minister Rajnath Singh. The workers’ front representatives have met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh seeking his intervention into the matter before going on strike.