Special Correspondent

Bangalore: More than 10,000 workers of the Navaratna electronics manufacturer, Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), will go on a one-day “token strike” on Thursday to protest against the management’s refusal to settle wage-related disputes raised by the workers’ unions. Workers representatives said workers in “all eight vertical units” in BEL would strike work.

Al five recognised unions in the company — Bharat Electronics Workers’ Unity Forum (BEWUF), Bharat Electronics Workers’ Union (BEWU), Bharat Electronics Employees’ Union (BEEU), Bharat Electronics Mazdoor Sangha (BEMS) and the BEL Headquarters Office Staff Association (BELHOSA) — are participating in the strike.

Gangadhar Bhustalimath, general secretary of the BEWU told The Hindu that the main demand of the workers is that the increments earned by them since December 2006 be included in the new wage structure that the unions are negotiating with the management. He said the management’s refusal to meet this demand implies that the increments given in the past will be withdrawn.

Promise

Mr. Gangadhar said the management had promised to include increments in the basic pay during negotiations in mid-2008. “It is now going back on its word,” he said. Representatives of the unions met the Union Labour Secretary in New Delhi recently. Mr. Gangadhar said BEL workers are seeking parity with other central Public Sector Undertakings. “Why should the minimum wage in BHEL be Rs. 4,200 while it is only Rs. 3,200 in BEL?” he said.

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