Hyundai unions threaten to go on strike

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 29, 2011 19:22 hrs

After a strike each in 2008, 2009 and 2010, Hyundai Motor India Ltd’s factory at Sriperumbudur, near here, may face yet another strike.

The Hyundai Motor India Employees Union (HMIEU), backed by the pro-CPM Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Citu), says it will organise one if 30 workers who’d been suspended as a result of earlier agitations weren’t taken back. A Soundararajan, general secretary, Citu, said: “We have already served the strike notice. Tomorrow, we will observe a one-day fast to pressurise management. If they are not willing to (take the workers back), then we don’t have a choice but to go for a strike.”

HMIEU is not the recognised union, but claims majority support. It demands both, official recognition and the reinstatement.

The official union is a non-political one, the United Union of Hyundai Employees. It was so recognised last year; before this, there was no recognised union. The management and UUHE say it has the backing of 75 per cent of the 1,500-strong work force. “Let them have a secret ballot. We will prove our majority," replies Soundararajan.

HMIEU went on an 18-day strike in April 2009 to demand recognition as the official union. It was followed by a settlement in December 2010. Said a company spokesperson: “We had agreed to the re-employment of 14 dismissed employees in December 2010 purely because of the unanimous tripartite agreement reached between representatives of the Tamil Nadu labour department, the minority Citu-backed HMIEU and representatives of the management. This agreement was ratified by a Tamil Nadu government order.”

Adding: “Any agitation on this issue would be a violation of this tripartite agreement. As per the terms of this agreement, the matter stands closed. In the interim, HMIL has, as matter of routine, been receiving strike notices from HMIEU and the last one was received in August this year. The agreement clearly directs the dismissed employees who have been found guilty of major disruptive and violent offenses to seek legal recourse in appropriate courts.”

These 30 employees come under this category; they’d been suspended at various points of time.

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