“We have been on strike since Monday and there has been no production at the unit since then. We have asked for a better compensation package which the management is not willing to accept…,” a workers’ union official told PTI.
According to the union official, some employees have been sitting on strike inside the sprawling facility at Maraimalai Nagar, which is about 40 kilometres from here, while others are protesting outside the unit.
“This time, we have decided to go ahead with the strike as the severance package will take at least 15 days to settle. And June 30 is expected to be the last working day, we have resorted to the strike in advance,” he said.
When contacted, a Ford spokesperson told PTI that the halt in production since Monday in the Chennai vehicle assembly plant is “unfortunate” against the backdrop of ongoing discussions with union representatives on all outstanding matters, including ‘compensation’.
“Given the ongoing nature of the discussions with the union, we may not be able to share details at this point and will have more to share later,” the spokesperson said.
The employees had staged a protest seeking better pay soon after the car major, in September 2021, announced that it would stop vehicle production at its two plants — Sanand in Gujarat and Maraimalai Nagar near Chennai in Tamil Nadu — as part of its restructuring exercise.
An employee said the negotiations with the management were going on at “snail’s pace”.
“Since there is a doubt whether all their demands will be fully accepted, we have joined the strike…,” he said.
According to another employee, the demand is for payment for 300 days as compensation, but management may negotiate it and settle for less.
“They (management) want the settlement package to be much lower, which is contrary to our demand. But due to the strike, we hope they may change their stand” he said.
According to industry sources, the Tamil Nadu government expected that the Ford’s Chennai plant would be taken over by another automaker, but there has been no positive results so far, leading to uncertainty over the future of the workers.
announced the signing of a tripartite pact with Ford and the Gujarat government to acquire the American auto major’s vehicle manufacturing unit at Sanand.