Less than a year after workers at Bajaj Auto's Chakan plant near Pune went on a 50-day strike, they are gearing up for another one starting April 28.
In a notice issued to the management of the second largest bike manufacturer by Vishwa Kalyan Kaamgar Sanghatana (VKKS) on April 14, the union has again demanded an issuance of 500 shares at a discounted price of Rs 10 to each permanent worker.
Around 850 permanent workers, employed in the morning shift at the Chakan plant, are expected to stop work from April 28. In a strike which lasted almost 2 months last year, the same union has demanded for discounted shares at Re 1 and revision of wage agreement.
The company currently manufacturers its premium bikes at the Chakan plant – including, Pulsar, KTM and Avenger.
"Things have not changed much since last year, ever since we withdrew our strike in August, 2013. The management has not yet reverted to our stoppage notice," said Dilip Pawar, union leader, VKKS.
Confirming the development, Bajaj Auto said that it has received a notice from the workers union. "We will maintain our stand of not allocating any discounted shares to the workers," said Kailash Zanzari, vice president (manufacturing), Bajaj Auto.
He said the company is not worried or concerned about the stoppage of production as it has capabilities to shift production to its other plants.
"We have enough resources and capacities to take care of the production at Aurangabad and Pantnagar plants. We can make the entire range of Pulsars at our Aurangabad plant. Also, production can be continued at Chakan with the help of workers who are not unionised," said Zanzari.
"All we are concerned about is the financial losses to our employees due to a stoppage like situation," he added.
The company's Chakan plant currently employs around 900 permanent workers and about 400 trainee workers.
VKKS last year withdrew its strike, after trying to negotiate and communicate with the Bajaj management for almost 50 days.
The two parties are currently fighting a legal battle over the wage agreement terminated by the union last year.
The company has approached the Bombay High Court recently saying that the termination of the existing settlement by the workers was unlawful. The next hearing in the court is on April 23 and the judgement is expected on April 25 in the Pune Industrial Court.