Bajaj Auto talks on severance package fail

July 2nd, 2008 - 10:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Pune, July 2 (IANS) The workers and management at Bajaj Auto’s Akurdi plant near here failed to reach an agreement Wednesday on a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), with the company proposing to pay in instalments, and workers insisting on a one-time settlement. The 1,600 workers, rendered idle since last September following the closure of the two-wheeler vehicles’ manufacturing plant, had earlier accepted the VRS package amount, which the company had enhanced from the initially offered Rs.700,000 to Rs.1.7 million.

But they baulked when the management offered to pay Rs.575,000 initially and the remaining in 120 monthly instalments of Rs.10,000, labour union leader Chhagan Shanba Dhawale told IANS.

“It was all over in two minutes; we told them we won’t be able to sign the agreement as the union members have forbidden us to settle for anything but the entire payment in one go and the management refused point blank”, a distraught Dhawale said.

Akurdi unit vice-president C.P. Tripathi, however, told IANS that workers had sought time to take a final call.

There will be another meeting soon, he added.

While 1,100 workers of the unit which had been converted into a research and development facility for the Bajaj-Renault venture had opted for VRS, the remaining 500-odd employees had decided to stick around on a monthly wage hike of Rs.2,500.

The final decision about the settlement rests with Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj, who earlier turned down the workers’ proposal to restart the Akurdi unit on the plea that it had been incurring losses of Rs.1 billion annually.

The company shifted the manufacturing unit’s operations to Chakan and Waluj in the district September 1 last year.

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