Chakan plant union alleges harassment

Bajaj Auto's plant in Chakan has been shut for three days. There is no sign of activity around the campus.

Spread over 300 acres, the plant has been operational since 1999. It accounts for about 2,000 workers; they are engaged in making 1.2 million units of motorcycles a year, including the Pulsar, Ninja and KTM brands.

A security guard at the plant's gates says there are no workers inside and production has stopped completely. At the gate to the material-handling facility, too, the situation is the same. There is hardly any movement of vehicles carrying material and spare parts. Policemen and security guards patrol the gate. According to members of Vishwa Kalyan Kamgar Sanghatana (VKKS), an independent Bajaj Auto trade union founded in January 2010, while working at the plant, employees had reported harassment. Their workload was excessive and the management had made overtime mandatory and refused to pay for the additional hours of work, they said, adding the wages were relatively low, as were the annual pay increases.

Also, based on fabricated performance reports, the management had started issuing warning letters, show-cause notices and dismissals and suspensions, pending enquiries, union members said. Between January and May, 17 workers across segments such as engines, vehicles and aluminum shops have complained against the management at the Chakan Police Station.

"We are always in favour of the company and we are strictly against any kind of violence or unrest in the company. We do not want a Manesar-like situation in Chakan," says Dilip Pawar, president, VKKS.