Labour trouble brews again in Hyundai Motor India

Last Updated: Saturday, November 28, 2009 - 16:27

Chennai: Hyundai Motor India Employees Union, which served a strike notice last week over a contentious labour union election issue, is expected to convene a general body meeting soon to chalk out its future course of action.

The union had Nov 19 served the notice demanding recognition after the management of Hyundai Motor India, the country`s second largest car manufacturer, decided to hold elections for the Workers Committee next month.
Union officials said the general body meeting was likely to be held on December 6 in which the future course of action would be decided.

"We will start a sit-in strike if the company goes ahead with its plans to hold elections for the Workers Committee," said union general secretary YS Chinnaraja.

Moreover, union members are also contemplating obtaining anticipatory bail, saying they feared police action against them.

"We are anticipating the company to lodge a police complaint, and one has to be ready to meet such a contingency," Chinnaraja told media.

In July, over 1,000 employees belonging to the union went on strike in protest against a wage agreement the management signed with the Workers` Committee, following which a number of strikers were sacked.

According to the union, the committee, set up by the company management, does not represent the workers.
The strike was withdrawn after the management signed an agreement with the union to pay "all workers wages as per its agreement with the Workers` Committee".

Explaining the company`s stand on the issue, Hyundai`s corporate communications head Rajiv Mitra told reporters from New Delhi: "Our policy is not to recognise an outside union with political affiliation."

The company contends the union is affiliated to the Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the labour arm of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

Disputing this, CITU general secretary A. Soundararajan said: "The union is not affiliated to CITU or to any other body. However, it is true that I am leading the union."

The term of the current Workers Committee ends in December.

"Hyundai Motor workers are represented by a seven-member Workers Committee, which is chosen through a process of free election by the workers," said Mitra.

"Any employee can stand for election to the Workers Committee and this process has been in place since Hyundai started operations. The elections will be held in the presence of a retired high court judge to ensure the process is fair and transparent."
Citing the July agreement, Mitra said the long-term wage settlement with the Workers Committee and ratified by a majority of employees has made the company`s technicians the highest paid in the automotive industry.

However, the union is unhappy with the manner in which the pact has been implemented.

"As per our understanding, the company would reinstate 20 of the 80 dismissed employees. But only 20 workers were taken back after they were given new employee roll numbers and provident fund account numbers that has affected their seniority," Chinnaraja said.

IANS



First Published: Saturday, November 28, 2009 - 16:27
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