With car sales in India falling for a record ninth month in a row in July posting 7.4 per cent decline and that of heavy and medium commercial vehicles dipping for 17th month in succession, industry body SIAM today said auto sector has started retrenching temporary workers - Maruti Suzuki India has already asked some of its temporary workers to go on indefinite leave.
According to the latest data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), domestic passenger car sales declined to 1,31,163 units in July this year from 1,41,646 units in the same month of 2012.
While total sales of commercial vehicles dropped by 14.93 per cent to 55,301 units from 65,008 units in the year-ago period, heavy and medium commercial vehicles (M&HCV) sales were down 19.88 per cent at 18,611 units.
"It is a very serious situation for the industry. The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have started adjusting temporary and casual workforce," SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told reporters here.
While he did not share the exact number of temporary workers affected by the downsizing, Mathur said: "In the manufacturing sector, not restricted to auto sector alone, companies by and large tend to keep more temporary and casual workers."
According to SIAM estimates, the OEMs employ a total of about two lakh workers, another five lakh by component makers while four lakh are employed at dealer and service centres.
While Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) has already asked some of its temporary workers at the diesel engine plant at Manesar to go on indefinite leave, Toyota Kirloskar Motor also confirmed that it is "currently not renewing contracts of the temporary employees", without specifying details.
Mathur further said the demand slump has affected across the segments. "For the total passenger vehicles, including cars, July was the 8th straight month of decline. Similarly, for motorcycles and grand total of all categories, it was the 6th straight month of decline."
Total sales of vehicles across categories registered a decline of 2.08 per cent to 14,15,102 units in July 2013 as against 14,45,112 units in the same month of 2012.
He said in the wake of the continuous decline in automobile sales, SIAM has approached the government seeking stimulus package, including reduction in excise duty, fleet modernisation and put an end to ban on new government vehicle purchase that has been