HAL staff launch indefinite stir as last-minute meeting
As many as 20,000 workers of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) across seven states launched on an indefinite strike on Monday, in their effort to pressure the company to take up wage revisions.
In a last-minute wage meeting held by the HAL management with All India HAL Trade Unions Coordination Committee (AIHALTUCC), HAL offered the workers a 11% fitment benefit and 22% perks for workmen in scales one to 10 category and 20% perks for workmen in special scale.
It was an offer, which according to the chief convener of the AIHALTUCC, Suryadevara Chandrashekar, fell short of their expectation. The convenor explained that the bone of contention between workers and the management involved the company's profitability.
"Officially, we have been told that workers cannot be given the demanded 35% fitment increase and 15% perks (on a par with executives) because the financial condition of the company is not good and that HAL's book order position is also not good," Chandrashekar said.
"We don't agree with this argument," he added, claiming that HAL had shown steady profits over the last 10 years, and that the current orders of the company total to Rs 58,000 cr.
A spokesperson for HAL, concurred that the order book position of the company (as of Mar 31, 2019) was Rs 58,000 cr, and that the company expects fresh orders for Tejas and the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) during the current fiscal year.
"However, the deadlock in negotiations has nothing to do with the financials of the company," the company spokesperson said.
"The demands of the Union are unreasonable. HAL management's offer is reasonable, fair and in conformity with the wage agreements finalised by other defence PSUs. Instead of appreciating this, the unions have come up with demands that are unviable in the current and futuristic business scenario," he added.
The company also described a claim by the Unions that HAL executives have received more wage revisions as being false.