Tata Motors’ medium and heavy (M&HCV) commercial vehicles unit in Jamshedpur, which has already seen a number of
‘block closures’ in the current fiscal due to sluggish sales, is due for a 10-day ‘suspension of work’ between December 23 and January 1, 2014, the longest in the current fiscal.
Since December 29 will be a Sunday, the day would be treated as a normal weekly-off, a company spokesperson said, adding that the company’s works would reopen on January 2.
Telco Workers’ Union (TWU) general secretary Chandrabhan Singh speaking to FE on Thursday said the management, having by now exhausted the allowable 18 days of ‘block closure’ in a fiscal (as agreed upon between the union and the management), has called the 10-day stoppage as ‘suspension of work’.
The break, however, would be treated at par with a ‘block closure’ and would, therefore, entitle the worker to full pay for the 10-day period in exchange of deduction of five days of privilege leave from the employee’s leave account.
Asked about the situation, Singh said, “What to do, even today workers are coming and idling away time (at the plant) as there is no work; we are not seeing any ray of hope even in the distant (future).”
As to when he thought could the situation improve the TWU general secretary said, “It now seems it could only be after the (2014 general) elections, which again means a considerable time would have elapsed in the next year before the new government would start taking decisions.”
A Tata Motors spokesperson said that the factory shutdown was necessitated “to match production with the demand situation and to avoid build-up of inventories both in the company and with dealers”.
Though the company spokesperson claimed that daily production was currently hovering around 200 chassis, the TWU general secretary said it was as low as 120-130 chassis. Singh said the management had kept the monthly production target for December at 2,600 chassis while the company produced around 4,500 chassis in November.
This is far below the plant’s peak average production of around 9,500 chassis a month seen a couple of years ago.
Sources said acting in tandem TML Drivelines, the auto major’s fully-owned subsidiary that produces axles and transmission systems, will also observe the 10-day shutdown.
Tata Motors has another smaller M&HCV plant at Lucknow, UP, having a monthly M&HCV chassis producing capacity between 4,000 units and 5,000 units (mainly bus chassis) also continues to be affected severely by the ongoing slowdown.