An indefinite strike by more than 20,000 workers of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, or HAL, continued for the second straight day on Tuesday, PTI reported. The workers, who are demanding wage revision, have refused to accept an offer made by the company’s management, and vowed to extend the strike till they are provided an “amicable solution”.
The state-owned defence major has production complexes in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Koraput in Odisha, Lucknow and Nashik, and four research and development units. The strike has disrupted operations at all nine centres, according to The Telegraph.
The HAL management on Tuesday alleged the strike was illegal, and claimed they cannot accept the demands of the All-India HAL Trade Unions’ Coordination Committee because of the “current and future business scenario”, NDTV reported. The committee is an umbrella organisation of nine trade unions.
The state-run company’s Director of Finance CB Ananthakrishnan said senior officials had explained the financial position to the demonstrators, and pointed out that labour costs need to be reduced from 24% to below 20%. “Our offer is a fair and reasonable,” Ananthakrishnan added.
“The HAL management’s offer is reasonable, fair and in conformity with the wage agreements finalised by other defence PSUs,” the company said in a statement. “Instead of appreciating this, the unions have come up with the demands that are unviable in the current and futuristic business scenario. The unsustainability and untenability has been explained to the Unions several times.”
However, trade union officials dismissed the claim that the strike was illegal. “We had informed the management as well as the labour commissioner about it before going for a strike,” HAL Trade Unions’ General Secretary S Chandrasekhar told PTI.
Earlier in the day, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat called for increased inclusion of indigenous technology in the security forces and said India would fight and win its next war using home-grown weaponry. On Monday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said the Air Force could have struck Balakot from India if India possessed Rafale fighter jets.
The employees of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited decided on Sunday to go on strike after the 11th round of talks with the management failed. The wage revision is due from January 1, 2017. The wages were last revised in 2012 for five years.
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