THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Labour Department has frowned upon a move by the BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL) to replace trade unions in the missile firm with a management-sponsored union.
The department has advised the State Government against entertaining a proposal by the BATL management to supplant the INTUC and AITUC-backed unions with a ‘single BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd Employees Welfare Union.’
A single union cannot be established since two registered trade unions are already functional at the firm, according to the department.
The proposal can be implemented only if the registration of the existing trade unions are either cancelled or withdrawn. In the present scenario, the management’s union can be registered only as yet another union, according to the department.
A Sivathanu Pillai, who stepped down on Thursday as CEO of the Indo-Russian JV BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (the parent company of BATL), had written to Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan in May this year seeking the government’s help to form a single union.
According to him, trade union activities and the “thoughtless activities of a few employees’’ were “retarding BATL’s progress and earnings.’’
Sivathanu Pillai had also sub mitted a draft by-law for the new union with his proposal.
The management had come up with the ‘single union’ theory after the Industrial Tribunal ruled in September 2013 that there was no legal basis for replacing trade unions with Workers’ Welfare Committees at BATL.
Such a committee had been formed by the management after taking over state government-run Kerala Hi-Tech Industries Ltd (KELTEC) at Chakkai to create BATL in 2007.
According to BATL management, the employees had gone back on their word to not indulge in trade union activities for five years. But the INTUC-backed BrahMos Staff Association and the AITUC-backed BrahMos Employees Union counter this saying that the management had failed to keep its side of the promises made to the employees during the take-over.
Earlier, the High Court of Kerala had also ruled against a State Government decision to exempt BATL from the Kerala Recognition of Trade Unions Act, 2010. Also, in suggesting a union of its own, the BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd management has apparently forgotten the stand it had taken in 2011 with regard to trade unions. Protesting the use of the name ‘BrahMos’ by the unions, the management had written to the Labour Commissioner saying that ‘’BrahMos is the name of a missile, and a missile has no trade unions.’’