Hero MotoCorp gets jitters as unions plan Gurgaon bandh

The wage dispute at Hero MotoCorp's Gurgaon plant could soon turn into a bigger crisis with national trade unions planning to stop normal work across the industrial region for a day. Union leaders from Hero MotoCorp's Gurgaon plant, who called off their hunger strike late on Sunday night, said that a 'Gurgaon bandh' is being planned this week and the final decision will be taken on Tuesday.

The pressure tactic on the company comes after a fresh round of talks on Monday between the Hero management and Hero MotoCorp Workers' Union (HMCWU) remained inconclusive the meeting was called by the Gurgaon additional labour commissioner. The call for a bandh follows a protest rally held on Sunday at the Gurgaon mini-secretariat where over 3,000 workers affiliated to national trade unions such as HMS, AITUC and CITU, and employees of various other companies such as Maruti Suzuki and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter were present.

"There is no solution even after Monday's meeting, though the labour department is insisting we don't go on a strike again. However, trade union leaders from various associations such as AITUC, CITU and HMS met us on Sunday night and said that we have the support of the whole industrial belt and if the management does not reach a decision soon, they will call for a Gurgaon bandh," Bhim Rao, general secretary, HMCWU said.

"Every method will be adopted to pressure the Hero management, apart from a strike or any violent protest," a senior trade union leader added.

Though negotiatons for a new four-year wage deal had begun in September last year, the stalemate between HMCWU and the management continues even after over 60 rounds of talks. HMCWU, which represents around 1,200 permanent workers at the plant, has asked for a R14,000-15,000 monthly salary increase (average monthly wage is R46,000) to match the recent wage hikes given by Maruti and Honda, while the Hero management has reportedly offered only R7,500-9,000.

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