Workers in eight of the nine units of the public sector company, Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), across the country, went on a one-day strike on Wednesday, demanding an early settlement of the performance-based incentive payment system.

Gangadhar Bhustalimath, general secretary, BEL Workers Union, told The Hindu that nearly 3,000 contract workers joined the 2,000 permanent employees for the strike. The nine units employ nearly 5,000 permanent workers.

In Bangalore, more than 1,500 workers assembled in front of the gates of the factory.

Mr. Bhustalimath claimed that more than 50 buses, which normally ferry workers to and from the factory, ran empty. He said that only the 300 workers at the Pune facility reported for work because of the conciliation proceedings before the labour commissioner there.

Mr. Bhustalimath blamed the management’s “intransigence” for the strike and pointed out that the management representative failed to report for conciliation proceedings initiated by the labour commissioner. He said that workers would resort to a “non-cooperation movement” from Thursday. “We will work to rule till the issue of incentive wages is settled,” he said.

The primary area of disagreement between the two sides is about the manner in which incentive payments ought to be computed. Mr. Bhustalimath said that although the company’s pre-tax profits had increased from Rs. 1,075 crore in 2011-12 to Rs. 1,140 crore in 2012-13, it was offering a PPI amounting to only Rs. 10.58 crore for 2012-13, compared to Rs. 15 crore in the previous year.

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