Late evening on Thursday, Royal Enfield workers had decided to drop the strike call and resume production based on the advice of the state labour department. However, the factory had informed workers that resumption of production would be announced later based on “readiness of the plant to commence operations”, and that the “advice” given by Joint Commissioner of Labour was given in good faith and without the “participation and consent” of the management.
A copy of the notice is available with ET. Queries sent to Royal Enfield remain unanswered.
The notice further said employees would be allowed back in plant to resume work upon commitments to “consistently support plant operations.” As per law, the notice said, there would be salary cuts for those who participated in the strike. the management thanked at the same time those who helped the plant run operations “in a restricted manner” for the first two days of the strike beginning September 24.
According to the notice, Royal Enfield does not recognise the Royal Enfield Employees Union, which spearheaded the strike.
The Royal Enfield plant, set up on an investment of Rs 900 crore, provides direct and indirect employment to over 10,000 people every month, said a petition filed by the company with the Madras High Court. It has a total of 4,000 workers.
The petition, filed on Thursday seeking police protection, has said trouble had started when members of the Royal Enfield Employees Union had worn badges and assembled near the factory canteen in a display of non-cooperation during the visit of the plant’s managing director.
“They thereafter raised a dispute seeking revision of wages. However, as the majority of the workmen were not part of the union, the petitioner [Royal Enfield] did not give much credence to the same.”
The union had issued a strike notice on August 13. Calling the strike beginning September 24 as illegal, Royal Enfield had sought police protection. However, the union had agreed to an advisory letter from the state labour department and dropped the strike call on Thursday evening.
The notice to employees, posted on Friday, has led to some concerns among employees in the factory, said people in the union. R Sampath, one of the leaders on the union which led the strike, told ET: “We have given a letter enclosing this notice to the state labour department.”