65 days on, no solution in sight to strike at Bosch Bengaluru unit

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Bengaluru | Published: November 20, 2014 4:06:09 AM

Union to intensify stir as firm urges for normalcy

Auto component maker Bosch has said the current, 65-day-old strike at its Bangalore plant has affected the company and urged the workers’ union to call off the indefinite strike and restore normalcy. The union, on the other hand, announced its decision to intensify the stir.

“This strike has now entered its third month and has adversely impacted not only the company but also the workmen with heavy financial losses,” Bosch said in a press release. “The company is taking all necessary measures to conclude the wage negotiation discussions with the union and will continue with its fair and firm approach.”

The current strike, related to a wage negotiation, is the longest standoff at the plant since 1979, according to the Mico Employees Association (MEA), whose members include 2,575 permanent workers and 369 temps. The MEA, at a press conference, said it would hold a demonstration at the labour commissioner’s office in Bangalore to demand action against the company for allegedly deploying unskilled workers, managerial staff and retired employees to carry out production. The union also said it would launch a relay-hunger strike.

The Karnataka government had last month issued an order prohibiting the strike after conciliatory talks between the management and union failed. However, the MEA has challenged that order in the Karnataka High Court.

The previous long-term wage settlement for the Bangalore plant workers expired in December 2012 and negotiations to draw up a new one for the next four-year cycle have been dragging on ever since. The MEA is pointing to the wage hike at the Nashik plant, which had been settled earlier this year at a basket amount of Rs 9,400. “But the same is not being extended to this plant though the union has agreed for more productivity” the MEA said. It also accused the management of backtracking on many issues that had been previously agreed upon.

Bosch’s Bangalore plant (formerly known as Motor Industries Co) makes diesel pumps and common rail systems for vehicles. “The company’s interim measures to meet the demands of its customers are continuing, through deployment of alternate resources on production line, provisionally sourcing products from its international production network and utilising built-up inventory,” the company said.

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