Hero refuses to give in as pay row deepens

Written by Roudra Bhattacharya | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 30 2013, 09:32am hrs
The Hero MotoCorp management on Tuesday refused to buckle under pressure from its Gurgaon plant workers who have slowed down production since last week demanding steeper wage hikes than offered. At the time of going to press, the stalemate on the wage hike issue remained unresolved despite the the presence of Haryana labour department officials.

The management is talking tough after the workers resorted to a production slowdown last week. They said that they cant offer a significant hike if workers try to put pressure on them through such tactics, a source said.

On January 16, Hero had offered the 1,400 workers represented by the Hero MotoCorp Workers Union (HMCWU) a R7,500 monthly hike (average salary today is R46,000 a month), raising it from the earlier offer of R6,500. However, Gurgaon plant workers have demanded at least a R15,000-hike, similar to what Maruti Suzuki and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India recently gave to their workers.

This modest increase in the wage hike offer was in response to a silent protest by workers since January 4, wherein they wore black bands and boycotted company-provided snacks, and warned that the Gurgaon plant may be headed for a larger strike if workers demands are not addressed.

With last weeks production slowdown by HMCWU workers, the two-wheeler market leader is estimated to have lost around R8 crore in revenues and production of over 1,500 scooters between Wednesday and Friday at one of three lines in the Gurgaon plant.

In fact, the previous round of wage discussions held last Friday had been inconclusive as well. In a statement, the company had accused workers of resorting to tampering with equipment.