Despite warning, GM workers still on strike

VADODARA: Top managers of General Motors (GM), India, met chief minister Narendra Modi on Thursday but insisted that the workers’ strike was not on the agenda though it came up for a brief mention. “We had sought an appointment with Modi two weeks back for discussing other issues. Modi knew about the ongoing strike and we did have a brief talk about it,” GM, India vice-president P Balendran told TOI.

“The government has already declared the strike as illegal and he cleared the government’s stand,” Balendran added. When asked about the company’s ultimatum to the workers to report back on duty, Balendran said, “If they don’t join back on Thursday, we will engage other workers from outside. As such the situation is improving as 50 more workers joined on Wednesday.” According to the management, about 650 of 900 striking workers have joined their duties.

The authorities have also declared Section 144 that bars assembly of more than four persons.

Meanwhile, the protesting workers asserted that they would not bend down in their demand to have a proper working environment at the factory. There were about 300 workers who had come to attend our meeting at and they have supported the strike and agreed not to join back on their job come what may,” said Nihil Mehta, general secretary, Gujarat Kamdar Mandal. It has been nine days since the GM workers went on strike accusing the management of inhuman treatment.

The workers alleged that GM management haphazardly transfers workers, puts extreme workload, does not give promotions on time and underpays temporary assignees who are made to do regular job. “The state has investors lined up as it has a record of minimal labour unrest. But, the current strike will send wrong signals to companies,” Balendran added.

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