The Vishwakalyan Kamgar Sanghatana (VKS), the labour union at Bajaj Auto has rejected an offer made by the management to give each of around 850 workers at its Chakan plant a wage hike of Rs 10,000 per month.

The offer, similar to the raise given to 130-odd workers at neighbouring Akurdi a week ago, came hours before VKS president Dilip Pawar was to begin an indefinite hunger strike outside Bajaj Auto’s premises at Akurdi on the morning of Sunday, February 16.

Though Sunday’s strike was called off, Pawar said the union had not received the notice, and said that the offer was conditional as workers had to sign an acknowledgment, and termed it unfair labour practice.

“I have postponed the strike and want to give more chance to resolving the issue through discussions with the management,” he said.

The notice signed by Kailas Zanzari, Vice-President, motorcycle (manufacturing) was put up on Saturday evening when the second shift was underway. It proposed wage hike in three slabs - Rs 10,000 for workers with five and more years’ experience, Rs 9,500 for those with 3-5 years’ experience and Rs 9,000 for those workers with up to three years of experience. It was to come into immediate effect after a written acknowledgement from the workers. If accepted, this would have taken the average CTC of Chakan workers to Rs 35,000. The VKS is demanding a rise of Rs 16,000 per worker.

While Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto declined to comment on the issue saying that it was too early to draw any conclusions, a statement from the company called the VKS’ demand irrational.

It said that the union had signed a MoU for the same amount to be given at Akurdi in a phased manner per month on Feb 10, and added that the rise of Rs.10,000 per month given to the Chakan workmen having 5 years of work experience was same as that of Akurdi workmen having experience of 25 years of service, and was the best rise in the Chakan industrial belt.

Last June, Bajaj Auto workers had struck work for 50 days, and their demands included higher wages. The union had raised an industrial dispute before the Additional Commissioner of Labour, Pune and the Government made a reference before the Industrial Tribunal, which is pending.