Hyundai Motor India Union Demands Wage Settlement

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CHENNAI: Hyundai Motor India employees have decided to demand a long-term wage settlement benchmarked against the wage hike announced at Maruti Suzuki Ltd.

Permanent and contract workers at Hyundai and employees of outsourced departments such as logistics, who gathered at the general body meeting of the Hyundai Motor India Employees Union on Tuesday, said that as the second largest automobile manufacturer, Hyundai was paying employees below industry standards.

At the meeting held in Poonamallee, about 25 km west of Chennai, workers, led by the independent Union headed by A. Soundararajan of the CITU, resolved that they would not agree to any wage settlement concluded by a union without a proven majority. Its primary goal would be to ensure that all the dismissed employees are reinstated, the management should recognise the HMIEU and the wage settlement has to be on par with that in Maruti Suzuki Ltd, the country’s largest automobile manufacturer. Over 300 workers participated in the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, Soundararajan, Honorary President of the Hyundai union, said over 30 employees have been dismissed by the company for various reasons. The HMIEU’s primary demand is that they be reinstated.

Long-term negotiations

The company is in long-term wage negotiations with the United Union of Hyundai Employees (UUHE), but the HMIEU, which represents the majority of permanent workers, says it will not recognise any settlement other than that concluded by a majority union.

Management recognition is a long pending demand of the HMIEU which, according to union representatives, is the majority union and is willing to prove it through an election and secret ballot.

He said Maruti had recently announced a wage hike of about Rs 18,000 a month to its workers. It also offers a range of welfare measures, including housing, healthcare and loan assistance. But in Hyundai, following the last wage settlement, the UUHE claims to be demanding a hike of about Rs 6,000, he said. With a production capacity of about 6.3 lakh cars a year, Hyundai Motor spends less than 0.5 per cent of its turnover on labour cost, compared with Maruti, which pays out several times more, he said.

The HMIEU has organised three strikes since it was formed in 2007. It will not hesitate to launch another agitation if its demands are not met, he said. This time round, it will garner the support of all segments of employees, including contract workers and trainees, he said.

In a recent petition filed before the Madras High Court seeking an injunction against the union organising a demonstration on the factory premises, the company had said that for each day of production loss, it would lose about 2,100 cars, at a total worth of over Rs 63 crore. Its annual turnover is about Rs 20,000 crore, on an investment of about Rs 9,000 crore.

 (Business Line, 3 October 2012)

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