Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
The logo of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is seen on the facade of the company's heritage centre in Bengaluru, India, March 28, 2018.REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

Cash-strapped Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is staring at another trouble as the wage revision seeking union has called for an indefinite strike from October 14. The All India HAL Trade Unions Coordination Committee (AIHALTUCC) has decided not to work from mid-October against a deadlock in negotiations over a pending wage revision, Hindustan Times reported.

However, HAL management has urged its trade union to call off the strike for the national interest. The development has given fresh headache to HAL management as the government-owned entity is already facing a severe cash crunch. Earlier in January this year, HAL was forced to take Rs 1,000 crore loan to merely pay its 30,000 strong workforces.

Notably, the union had announced for a strike on Monday as the repeated negotiations between the two parties reached a stalemate. The union argued that it will go ahead with the strike due to the "adamant/arrogant" attitude of the management of HAL. The two sides have been involved in deliberations over salary revision since 2016 as a new remuneration structure was about to be introduced since January 1, 2017. However, the talks made a little progress as the management accused the unions of making unreasonable demands. But the union has argued about the disparity in the settlement offered to workmen as opposed to executives.

On Friday, the HAL management issued a public statement in which it said that the company had brought to public notice the "anomalies in the demands of AIHALTUCC", and had sought co-operation "based on realistic and affordable expectations". HAL further argued that the demands raised by the union are against the guidelines set by the government for such negotiations. Moreover, accepting the demands would "also impact the competitiveness of the company". In this regard, HAL said, the strike "would neither be in the interest of the organisation nor the employees".

HAL Hawk assembly
A view of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's Hawk assembly line. The Hawk is a tandem-seat aircraft for ground attack, flying training and weapon training, powered by an Adour Mk 871 turbofan engine.Wikimedia Commons

HAL said that as per the rule laid down by centre, remuneration of workmen are revised every five years, and was last done in 2012, revisions for executives were done every 10 years. The management held a total of 10 meetings were held with the unions and four with the committee. "However, Unions have been insisting on more than 15% fitment benefit and 35% perks are more than that given to executives after a period of 10 years, whereas for workmen the last wage revision took place with effect from January 1, 2012," it added.

On the other hand, Suryadev Chandrashekhar, general secretary of the committee accused the management of only partially revising the salaries. "The government has set guidelines, where it has said that you can either go for 10-year periodicity or five years," Chandrashekhar added.