The Bombay High Court on Friday turned down Bajaj Auto’s plea that it hear proceedings related to the dispute between the company and Vishwakalyan Kamgar Sangathana (VKS), its workers’ union. Instead, the HC division bench comprising justices Anoop V Mohta and MS Sonak stayed the proceedings related to increments and directed the matter be heard and decided by the industrial tribunal in Pune.
The HC directed that the issue of unlawful reference of charter of demands submitted by VKS be decided first by the tribunal before deciding the reference and interim relief demand made by the union.
The issue regards the settlement clause the management made with the union in 2010 for nine years at the Chakan plant, which has 850 permanent workers. According to the agreement, there was to be an increase in salary every three years. The company came up with a fresh charter in 2012, which the employees objected to.
Bajaj Auto had filed a writ petition before the Bombay HC challenging the order of the deputy commissioner of labour, Pune, dated October 7, 2013, where the labour department referred the union’s new demands to the industrial tribunal. Challenging this, the company said the earlier settlement dated May 21,
2010, was in force and was valid till March 31, 2019.
The company also wanted the termination of the nine-year agreement by the union to be declared unlawful.
But the company will now have to go through the proceedings at the tribunal.
“The case will now be heard at the industrial tribunal in Pune on May 2,” said Dilip Pawar, VKS president.During the hearing on Friday, the union's counsel also asked the court to grant Rs 10,000 per month per workman as interim relief, which was turned down.
“This is a clear victory for the workers. The company was not in the mood for a settlement and did not want the proceedings to take place in the lower court. The same was turned down by the judges with an order that the industrial tribunal, Pune, hear out the case first,” said Bennet D'Costa, legal counsel representing the union.