Workers strike for raise, production halts at General Motors’ Halol plant

The production at General Motors’ Halol plant has once again stalled with the workers going on an indefinite strike to protest against alleged harassed by the management. Company officials said the workers went on strike during the second shift on Wednesday.

The workers, who are now divided into two separate unions, alleged that they would resort to all the possible means to fight for their basic rights. “The earlier union, which was not registered, ignored the problems faced by the workers and functioned hand in glove with the management. Now most of the workers have joined the Gujarat Kamdar Mandal, a registered union and affiliated to INTUC,” said workers union secretary Mihir Mehta.

The strike comes nearly five months after a similar protest during which the workers had claimed that their salaries were too low. They had called off the strike after the management assured them that their salaries would be hiked as per the rules and regulations. “But nothing happened after that and those leaders who were supposed to protect the interest of the fellow workers joined hands with the management and agreed to company’s terms and conditions,” Mehta alleged.

He added that officials at the plant “are making workers work on six vehicles instead of four, which is making them work more than their capacity”. “Some workers were transferred to other (GM) plants outside the state because they were part of the earlier protest,” he said.

GMI vice-president P Balendran said a dispute between the two unions is “affecting” the company’s image. “After the last strike, we had arrived at a conclusion and the agreement was signed between the agitating members and the company in front of the officials from the Labour Department. Now again they have gone on a strike for no satisfactory reasons… We believe in transparent policies and workers welfare is an important issue for us,” he said.

Labour department officials have, meanwhile, taken statements from both the sides.

The company is estimated to have suffered a production loss of 280 vehicles since Wednesday.

The Halol facility has an installed capacity to produce 85,000 units per annum. At present, the plant produces 150 vehicles per day with 900 permanent workers. The company manufactures premium hatchback Aveo U-Va, entry-level sedan Aveo, mid-sized sedan Optra, sedan Cruze and multi-utility vehicle Tavera at Halol.

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