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Manesar: Hitachi Workers Achieve Partial Victory as Management Accepts Some Demands

Neelam Gaur |
The 23-day strike of contractual workers ends; Request for ‘equal pay for equal ‘rejected, conditional on workers withdrawing their entire demand charter.

Image Courtesy: Justdial

New Delhi: The 23-day strike by contractual workers at the Proterial (formerly Hitachi) factory in Manesar that had commenced on June 30, ended on Tuesday after a meeting between the workers' union and the management in the presence of the Haryana labour department officials.

The demand charter, which was submitted to the management a year ago, was taken back by the union because the management agreed to accept three key demands. These include equitable compensation for permanent work equivalent to that of permanent employees, fair work assignments and remuneration treatment, reinstatement of workers suspended during the strike, and adherence to legal provisions regarding leave entitlement.

The strike began on June 30, 2023, and nearly 255  temporary workers participated in it. The company has a total of 300 temporary workers in the Manesar plant. 

Proterial, formerly known as Hitachi Metals, a Japanese multinational corporation operating in various sectors, including information technology, electronics, power systems, social infrastructure, and industrial equipment, runs the Manesar plant for manufacturing electronic product components.

As reported earlier, a confrontation between workers and management at the Manesar plant of Hitachi has been going on for the last year after the workers submitted a demand charter to the management. The demands mainly revolved around issues related to their roles and corresponding salaries, which has been the source of contention between workers and the management.

According to the union’s demand charter, temporary workers have been carrying out tasks similar to permanent employees but the wage difference between the two is huge. The monthly remuneration of a permanent employee is Rs 80,000, whereas temporary workers are paid approximately Rs 10,000- Rs 12,000 for the same work.

The accepted demands included a salary increment of Rs 1,500 per month for workers who have been with the company for more than a year. The company has also assured workers of implementing leave provisions in accordance with the Factories Act. 

The management, according to the union, has also agreed to reinstate workers suspended during the strike. However, it has been made clear whether the company will provide them the  salary backlog (for the time period when the workers were suspended) to any of the suspended workers.

The culmination of a year-long confrontation between the workers and the Hitachi management has led to many workers losing their jobs, which is why the union demanded reinstatement of those suspended. As many as 23 workers were suspended by the company in the last year for participating in strikes, said the union.

Sandeep Kumar Shukla, one of the terminated workers, however raised “suspicion” over Tuesday’s dispute resolution.  He told NewsClick that till the accepted demands do not get executed, the fight should go on.

“The management has agreed to take back suspended workers in October but doesn’t want to provide us with the salary of the time while we were suspended for demanding our rights. This partial victory has given us hope, but we are demanding the backlog salary along with the reinstation,” Shukla said.

In a recent meeting between workers and the management, the latter agreed to address three of their demands. However, the request for ‘equal pay for equal work’ was rejected, conditional on the workers withdrawing their entire demand charter.

Singh further stated that the union (Proterial (Hitachi) Theka Majdoor Union) is still not registered, which had become an issue for the workers in dealing with the labour department. 

“Our first priority, along with the demand of the backlog salary, is to register the union as this is going to be a long fight for the rights of the contractual workers,” he added.

The workers also demanded a structural leave management system that complies with the legal requirement. According to a worker who did not want to be named, the management rarely approves leaves of workers. 

“Legally, we should have two leaves apart from the four monthly weeks offs. Here, in case a worker wants to take a leave, Rs 1000 gets deducted from his attendance allowance along with the salary of the day,” the worker told NewsClick.

NewsClick made multiple attempts to get a response from the  Hitachi management, but in vain

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