File photo of striking workers at Tata Motors Sanand plant stage a protest at Sanand.
Tata Motors has agreed to hold discussions with workers of its Sanand plant on their demands. The workers, who are negotiating a wage hike with the company, held a meeting in the presence of labour department officials at the site on Wednesday. The next meeting has been scheduled for March 29 where labour department officials will also be present.
Earlier this month, Sanand workers had approached the labour department here to help them negotiate their demands with the management.
Hitesh Rabari, president of Bharatiya Kamdar Ekta Sangh Sanand (BKSS), the state labour department-recognised labour union at the Sanand plant said, “The management showed openness to discuss our demands today. There would now be a series of discussions at the site starting tomorrow. Labour department officials would again come for a tripartite meeting on March 29.”
A company statement said Tata Motors attended Wednesday’s conciliation meeting called by the conciliation officer as agreed in the previous meeting with labour authorities on March 2 and submitted its response on the matter. “In our response we have reiterated our openness to discuss a reasonable charter of demand, amicably and in a fair manner with the union. We are hopeful that the union would resume discussions with the company with the same positive spirit to arrive at mutually beneficial grounds,” a Tata Motors spokesperson added.
Sources in the union claimed they have been placing their demands before the company for the last one-and-a-half years now, however, no action was taken. The main contention is regarding wages. “The average worker salary at Sanand is Rs 12,000, while the standard in the automobile industry is around Rs 25,000 a month. We have worked in low salaries at the site as the Nano car was not doing well. However, now Tiago is a success. The company should consider our demands,” said a worker at the site.
Workers, however, do not have any plans to affecting production or going into a strike. “We are making a last attempt through negotiations. If we have given it so much time, let’s give it some more. We have assured the company that there were no plans to hamper production at site. The company’s attitude today was also positive,” Rabari said.