Close to 5,000 workers of Bangalore-based defence public sector company Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) will strike work on December 11, 2013, demanding the payment of performance-based incentive. The employees of all nine units of the Navaratna company will join the strike, a trade union leader said.
"We have been negotiating with the management for the payment of performance-based incentive from July 2012 calculated on the basis of profit before tax of the company. However, the management is insisting on the basis of the company's operating profit, which is against the MoU signed by the company with the ministry of defence," Gangadhar Bhusthalimath, general secretary, BEL workers union, said.
The United Action Front of BEL Trade Unions has served a notice to the management of the company on November 25, 2013, stating their intention of going on strike on December 11, 2013.
Bhusthalimath said, BEL's profit before tax has increased from Rs 1,075 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 1,140 crore in 2012-13. However, the management was offering only Rs 10.58 crore for 2012-13 as an incentive to around 5,000 employees as against Rs 15 crore in the previous year.
"We cannot accept a lower incentive for 2012-13 when the company's actual profit before tax was higher at Rs 1,140 crore. At this rate, the incentive per employee works out to Rs 44,000 per head, while the management is offering only Rs 21,160 per head. This is an unfair practice," he told a press conference.
When contacted, BEL's officials did not offer any comment.
For year-ended March 2013, BEL reported a turnover of Rs 6,012 crore, a growth of 5.4 per cent over the previous year. The profit after tax grew 7.22 per cent to Rs 889.83 crore. The order book stood at Rs 25,000 crore.
Bhusthalimath said, the company is making losses by supplying electronic voting machines at Rs 5,000 per unit as against its actual cost of Rs 15,000 per unit. How can the employees be held responsible for this? he questioned.
"By paying incentives based on the operating profit, which is far less than PBT, the management is trying to punish the honest and loyal workers," he said.
He said, public sector companies like HAL, BHEL, BDL have paid performance-based incentive to their employees based on the profit before tax and only the BEL management is adamant on changing the norm.
As a mark of protest, the employees have already displayed black badges and have submitted a representation to the ministry of defence. "We are striking work on December 11 for one day and if the management remains adamant on their stand, then we will have to go on a longer strike," Bhusthalimath said.