Intensifying their protest against the Hero MotoCorp management on the impasse over ongoing wage negotiations, leaders of the Gurgaon plant union on Monday decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike starting Thursday. The workers’ body, Hero MotoCorp Workers’ Union (HMCWU), has already sent a notice to the company outlining its plans and was expected to inform the Haryana labour department later in the evening.
“We have decided that only the HMCWU office bearers, which is around seven people, will go on the hunger strike. The workers are not being asked to join us because we do not want to impact production in any way and we want our protest to remain peaceful. If this does not help, we may extend the protest to the workers as well,” Bhim Rao, HMCWU general secretary, told FE. HMCWU represents around 1,200 workers at Hero’s Gurgaon facility, but the wage talks are likely to have a bearing on around 6,000 contract workers as well.
Union president Kanwalpreet Singh said workers at Hero’s Dharuhera plant in Rajasthan have also extended support, but are not expected to join the hunger strike. “We are fighting for our demands and it is not directly related to them,” he said.
“Also, their union is heading towards an election soon; so, we have not asked them to join us,” he said.
The development comes after around six months and over 60 rounds of wage talks. Many of these meetings have been held in the presence of Haryana labour department officials. The last round was on Friday. A date for the next meeting is yet to be fixed, sources said.
HMCWU wants a Rs 14,000-15,000 monthly wage hike (monthly average salary currently is Rs 46,000) to match recent hikes given by Maruti Suzuki and Honda Motorcycle to their workers in the same region. However, the company has reportedly offered a hike of only around Rs 8,500 a month.
The Gurgaon plant makes about 8,000 scooters and bikes a day across three assembly lines. The factory had last seen a strike in 2006 over wage issues and demand for regularising contract workers.
While HMCWU has threatened to strike work several times in the last month, till now it has only resorted to a production slowdown for two days in January, apart from holding a silent protest in the same month when the workers boycotted company-provided snacks.