Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s premier utility vehicle and farm equipment manufacturing company has finally seen the end of a 13 day tool down strike at their Igatpuri engine plant. The strike was called off on Monday following the reinstatement of two suspended workers. These workers submitted a written apology to the company, following which, the company revoked their suspension orders and withdrew charge sheet proceedings against the duo.
No doubt workers unions are necessary, especially so they can uphold company and workers’ interests for the better. While the economic scenario has been bleak of late, the Indian auto industry has suffered immensely. While Mahindra is amongst the few companies that have still managed to keep their head above the water, being subjected to no production for almost 2 weeks is nothing less than being held at ransom. The pattern is nothing new as communist sections of the country have resorted to bandhs at the drop of a hat. Currently, traders have resorted to shutting shop in their strike against Local body Tax(LBT). At the end of the month, hotel, restaurant, and mess owners in India will resort to a nationwide bandh in their protest against Service Tax levied by the Union government. Then there are personal bids too in trying to slowdown functionality of an economy in the form of fasts. While Maruti’s Manesar plant is now moving at a steady pace, one can never forget the murderous turn of events the last time around. The blurry line between getting a point across and opting for age old tactics remains smudged around here. Also, multiple trade unions have a political message, rather than one that is simply related to the point in contention at a particular time. All of these situations do paint a very bleak picture of an economy that has been in developing phase for far too long now.
The management had entered into talks with Uddhav Thackeray, Chief of Shiv Sena, as the suspended workers were a part of the Shiv Sena trade union Bharatiya Kamgar Sena. Uddhav Thacheray also issued a personal assurance to the company that there would be no repetition of these issued in the future. Engines for M&M vehicles such as the XUV500, Genio and Maxximo are produced from the Igatpuri plant. Keeping in mind holidays during teh period, estimated production loss atnads roughly at 8000 units. Mahindra recently signed the Partnering against the Corruption Initiative (PACI) in India, an initiative heralded by World Economic Forum.
There was no adverse effect on sales due to sufficient inventory while engine production was stepped up at the other M&M plants to counterbalance loss of production at the Igatpuri plant. Mahindra’s media statement issued late last eveing reads as follows, “Mahindra & Mahindra has revoked the suspension of two workers of its Igatpuri plant which was based on disciplinary action after the suspended workers tendered a written and unconditional apology. The President of Bhartiya Kamgar Sena, affiliated to Shiv Sena, Shri Suryakant Mahadik has given an assurance that workers would not indulge in any breach of discipline in the future. The management has also received a personal assurance from the Shiv Sena President, Shri Uddhav Thackeray, that such instances will not be repeated in future by the workers within the plant. The tool down strike at the company’s Igatpuri plant, which started on 9th April 2013, has since been withdrawn by the workers and production will soon be restored to normalcy. Considering the normal pipeline of stock and the assembly of higher numbers of engines at other plant locations, there was no material impact on sales volume and going forward the company expects to build up the pipeline stock.”