What is in this article?:
- Ford India Workers Emulate Gandhi in Pay Protest
- Ford Protests Follow Peaceful Path
Recalling Mahatma Gandhi’s non-cooperation strategy that won independence for India in 1947, theemployees are showing up for work but are refusing the company’s offers of a free lunch and free round-trip transportation to and from their homes.
EcoSport production not yet affected by Ford India wage dispute.
MUMBAI – Unrest among Indian auto workers has become commonplace, but because of one group’s unorthodox tactics the protests do not have commonality.
A more or less typical situation is playing out atKirloskar’s Bangalore plant. Workers’ demands for higher pay have been accompanied by a lockout, suspensions, employee sit-ins and production by of a mere 120 vehicles a day, a fraction of the facility’s capacity of 1,000.
Few if any automakers in India have avoided labor trouble. In recent years Maruti Suzuki,India, India, India and local manufacturers Tata and Mahindra & Mahindra have dealt with fractious employees.
The low point arguably came in the summer of 2012, when theplant in Manesar was shut down for a month by a strike in which a manager was burned to death and more than 100 other supervisors were injured. India’s largest automaker lost at least 35,000 units of production.
AtKirloskar, workers recently demanded a pay increase of Rs8,000 ($140) per month but said they would accept half that amount. In mid-March employees were locked out and 30 of them were suspended. After the government intervened, the wholly owned Toyota subsidiary agreed to raise salaries Rs3,050 ($50), but only on condition that every employee sign a future ‟good-conduct” pledge, and that the 30 suspended employees not be taken back.
Rejecting the offer, 20 leaders of the Toyota Kirloskar Motor Employees Union late last month began fasting in protest; 10 have been hospitalized with low blood pressure and blood-sugar levels. Other employees have held sit-ins outside the plant gates.
This week the leaders called off their indefinite fast and instead are joining the rank and file in daily morning-to-evening fasts by rotating groups of workers.
Management has not yielded, instead using a skeleton crew of supervisors and temporary contract workers to maintain drastically scaled-back production. That in turn has prompted complaints from union officials that TKM is using untrained apprentices, a charge denied by the automaker. Government inspectors are investigating the conflicting claims.