With the ongoing elections in the country,
workers at automotive plants seem to be on a disruption mode. While the Toyotas
and the Bajajs are facing severe hardship on this front, it now seems to be the
turn of Shriram Pistons & Rings (SPR), the largest
manufacturer of Pistons, Rings in India and the largest supplier of Engine
Valves to OEMs in India.
Workers at the SPR facility in Pathredi in
Rajasthan are on an illegal sit-in strike since April 15, 2014. The company’s mother
plant is located in Ghaziabad and the company established a second manufacturing
unit at Pathredi, near Bhiwadi (District Alwar) in March 2011.
Industrialists like Rajiv Bajaj of Bajaj Auto
have used strong words to condemn the illegal labour unrest at his Chakan plant
in Pune recently and even termed their demands “entirely insane”. Toyota
Kirloskar has been insisting on its workers signing a good conduct agreement at
its Bidadi plant in Karnataka. SPR is now appealing to the misguided workmen to
normalise operations and discuss all issues across the table.
Since April 15, 2014, approximately 1150
workmen have gone on an illegal sit-in-strike, without any notice to the Labour
Department or the company. Dy. Labour Commissioner, Alwar has already submitted
a report that the sit-in-strike by the workmen is prima facie not as per law, and
has appealed to the workmen to evacuate the plant.
The workmen at the Pathredi plant are not
allowing movement of goods or safety related maintenance, despite onsite visit
and appeal by senior officials from Labour Department and police and company
“There is no clarity about the exact demands of
the workmen, who have kept shifting their stance at the instance of outside,
professional union leaders and persons who have no enduring interest in the
welfare of the enterprise or the employees.
“One of the demands of the workmen is to take
back those persons who have indulged in indiscipline, given fake certificates,
including some who have already taken their full and final settlement in the
past months. In case of few suspended workmen, the enquiry proceedings are
under way, as per law. However, the workmen want such persons to be taken back
unconditionally,” noted Ashok Kumar Taneja, CEO and Managing Director of
Shriram Pistons and Rings Ltd while speaking to Motown India.
The company has invested to-date approximately
Rs.500 cr at the Pathredi plant and the plant has grown to 2400 employees,
including about 2000 workmen, within three years.
Several workmen wish to end the stalemate and
return to work, but are being threatened and their identity cards have been
forcibly taken to ensure they do not leave the premises. Supervisors and managers
are also being threatened and not allowed to perform their duties, he added.
SPR has three Japanese and one German partner
and is major supplier of Pistons, Pins, Rings and Engine Valves to OEMs in
India. Taneja revealed that barring
minor hiccups, complete supplies are being made to OEMs from the plant in
Ghaziabad, and with active support of company’s collaborators, who have stepped
in to help tide over the crisis.
The sit-in-strike in one of the most
respected enterprises, known for its professional management, is being watched
by OEMs particularly in the NCR region and also component manufacturers who are
in the process of establishing a footprint in the Bhiwadi and Tapukara region.
According to Taneja, the management continues
to appeal to the misguided workmen to normalise operations and discuss all
issues across the table. District authorities and Labour Department have also
made similar appeals to the workmen, but the outside leaders are preventing the
workmen from starting the dialogue, he said.
The Government authorities have promised to
help the company resolve the stalemate and restore normal operations very soon.
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