Strike at GM’s plant completes one month

NEW DELHI: The labour unrest at General Motors India’s Halol plant in Gujarat completed one month today with no sign of respite, while the car maker is estimated to have suffered a production loss of about 1,500 units so far.

Talks between the management and workers on strike have so far failed to yield any result and even the threat to terminate jobs have not made the nearly 200 agitating employees return to duty.

“We will continue to cooperate with all authorities and work closely with our employees and their union bargaining representatives to find a resolution,” General Motors India Vice President P Balendran told PTI.

He, however, did not share any further details saying that the company supported lawful and constructive resolution of any concerns.

Meanwhile, worker sources belonging to non-striking group said about 200 employees have not joined duty so far and conducted a sit-in “dharna” in Vadodara yesterday.

“The production has improved over the last few days, but it has not reached full capacity level yet. The company has so far lost production of about 1,500 units,” a worker said.

On March 16, a section of workers had resorted to strike at the Halol facility, which has an installed capacity of 85,000 units a year, protesting transfer of some employees to dealership outlets and opposing a long-term wage settlement agreement signed in December last year.

The plant has one registered workers body, GM Employees’ Union. The company claims that a new union, formed under the aegis of Congress-backed Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), has been spearheading the agitation.

The state government had earlier declared the strike illegal and imposed Section 144 of IPC near the plant location to prevent any possible gathering of agitators.

Sources had earlier said that the company suspended four labourers for allegedly beating a senior engineer inside the factory premises.

Earlier, the company had given an ultimatum to about 250 striking workers threatening termination of services unless they returned to duty by March 25. However, as the deadline did not fructify in bringing them back to duty, the company had initiated the process to take disciplinary actions against them.

“Our Halol plant is an outstanding workplace for hundreds of employees. It has an impressive history of employee safety and has won many safety and other awards, including several in 2010. We respect and follow the law and comply with all rules pertaining to health, safety, working conditions and employment,” Balendran said.

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