Labour unrest at carmaker General Motors India’s Halol facility entered the second week yesterday, causing a loss of production of over 100 units each day.
On March 16, workers resorted to strike at the Halol facility in Gujarat that 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.
When contacted, GM India Vice President P Balendran told PTI: “Of about 900 workmen, 550 have reported, while 350 are still absent. Currently we are producing in only one shift.”
The company is rolling out about 70 units daily compared to 190 units earlier. “The production loss so far is about 600 units,” he added.
This is the second such incident at Halol in five months. The plant came to a halt for four days when about 900 workers went on a strike from October 29, 2010, demanding wage hikes, leading to GM India’s total production loss of 450 units.
Interestingly, the Economic Survey for 2010-11 had said Gujarat witnessed the highest number of strikes and other forms of labour unrest in recent times on account of various financial and disciplinary issues.
Balendran said the latest development has nothing to do with the company and it is due to an inter-union rivalry. “The government has declared the strike illegal”.
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.
GM Employees’ Union General Secretary Bharat Maganbhai Patel said: “They (striking workers) are protesting against the transfer of four employees. But our contract clearly says that we can be transfered to any dealer point on work related issues... Such strikes are not good for us”.
The Halol facility has an installed capacity to produce 85,000 units every year on three shifts. It produces premium hatchback Aveo U-Va, entry-level sedan Aveo, mid-sized sedan Optra, luxury sedan Cruze and multi-utility vehicle Tavera.
Besides Halol, GM India has another plant at Talegaon in Maharashtra with an installed capacity of 1.4 lakh units per year. It currently produces compact cars Spark and Beat.