HAL chairman stands fast on workers' strike

“We hope that they will calm down and return to the discussion table. We can’t offer anything further because we have to see it from an economical standpoint and profitability,” HAL chairman R Madhavan said. Photo/AFP

The longer workers of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) continue the strike, the greater will be the decline of our final offer to them, HAL chairman R Madhavan said.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference organised by the independent think-tank Synergia Foundation, Madhavan explained that HAL can't offer more concessions to striking workers. 

“We hope that they will calm down and return to the discussion table. We can’t offer anything further because we have to see it from an economical standpoint and profitability,” he said.

“The longer the workers strike, the costs will get factored into the wage revision. We are a commercial organisation and if a long strike will cause me to lose money, what we have offered also will start coming down,” he added.

The management’s current offer amounts to a 11% fitment increase and 22% perks for Scale 1 to 10 workmen and 20% perks for higher-class workmen. But when asked when HAL would start to downgrade this offer, Madhavan said: “right from the first day of the strike itself.”

Madhavan also rubbished claims that the strike was costing the company crores, saying that the company has not lost its assets. 

“Our day-to-day operations are continuing because one, the vendors are continuing to supply materials, our officers are working and test flights are continuing to take place,” he said but added that the strike would definitely start to bite in the long-run.

According to the  All India HAL Trade Unions Coordination Committee (AIHALTUCC), however, they are the recipients of a writ petition filed by HAL against the committee in the high court on Friday, during which the company claims that it is incurring a loss of Rs 17 crore per day because of the strike.

As the strike concluded its sixth day on Saturday, union leaders said they were aware of the management’s hardline position on the standing offer, but said they had no option but to continue.

“The management has so many weapons in its arsenal. It can file FIRs against us, it can harm our workers by reducing their wages, it can disrupt our protests. But we trade unions have only weapon - that is the strike. We are exercising our basic right,” said Suryadeva Chandrasekar, chief convenor of the AIHALTUCC.

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