While merger of rival companies is normal, a merger of two worker unions is something rare, which happened at two-wheeler maker Eicher Motors Ltd’s plant here, said their leaders.
Further, the amalgamation has happened at a time when the union has submitted its charter of demands as the earlier wage agreement with the management will end in 2022.
“On Friday, the Royal Enfield Employees Union (REEU) decided to merge itself with the majority union Oragadam Royal Enfield Employees General Union,” the latter’s President M. Muthukaruppasamy told IANS.
Confirming the development, Dinesh Babu, General Secretary of erstwhile REEU, told IANS: “The management had a discussion with us. Considering the workers’ welfare and the company’s well-being in a holistic manner, we decided to merge with Oragadam Royal Enfield Employees General Union.”
According to the union leaders, B. Govindarajan, Executive Director, Eicher Motors, had a meeting with them and discussed the company’s plans, market situation and the challenges.
The Eicher Motors plant near here rolls out popular two-wheelers like Bullet, Classic 350 and others.
Union leaders told IANS that communication between the workers at the shop floor used to be tense owing to the union rivalry.
The Eicher Motors factory here has about 1,350 workers, out of which the Oragadam Royal Enfield Employees General Union has about 1,050 members and the remaining workers are with REEU.
“We have started enrolling members of erstwhile REEU as our members. Nearly 90 per cent of REEU members have joined us. The remaining will join soon,” Muthukaruppasamy said.
According to him, the management has given its assurance that no vindictive action will be taken against the REEU leaders.
The Eicher Motors management has recognised only the Oragadam Royal Enfield Employees General Union as it was formed by company workers.
The company had refused to recognise the REEU as it was affiliated to an outside union called Working Peoples Trade Union Council.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at email@example.com)