Ford India closure: Compensation talks on with workers

Chennai, Jan 18 (IANS) A couple of rounds of talks on the compensation to be paid to the workers have been held between the representatives of Ford India Private Ltd’s workers and the management, said a worker union leader.

He said the company management wants to conclude the talks and arrive at a settlement by February 2022.

“Couple of rounds of talks have been held with the workers in Chennai. We have given our charter of demands and the management said it has to be negotiated,” the Chennai plant union official told IANS preferring anonymity.

According to him, talks with the workers in the Gujarat plant have also started.

“We have asked for compensation for completed and remaining years of service. The company is not agreeable for the same. The management has not indicated as to the compensation they are willing to pay to the workers,” the union official said.

Majority of the workers are young and have about 25 years of service remaining before they retire and the compensation calculated on that basis will be a sizeable sum, is the management’s view.

However, the parent company will be infusing funds in dollars and as per the exchange rate between dollar and the rupee the outgo for Ford India will not be much, the worker leader said.

Last September, Ford India announced its decision to wind down vehicle assembly in Sanand in Gujarat by the fourth quarter of 2021, and vehicle and engine manufacturing in Chennai by the second quarter of 2022.

Ford India has four plants in the country — vehicle and engine plants in Chennai and Sanand.

Ford’s ‘quit India’ decision will result in an uncertain future for about 5,300 employees — workers and staff, the officials said last year.

The Chennai plant has about 2,700 associates (permanent workers) and about 600 staff.

“In Sanand, the number of workers will be about 2,000,” Sanand workers’ union General Secretary Nayan Kateshiya had told IANS.

Ford India had said more than 500 employees at the Sanand engine plant, which produces engines for export, and about 100 employees supporting parts distribution and customer service, also will continue to support Ford’s business in India.

According to Ford India, about 4,000 employees are expected to be affected by its decision.

The workers at Ford India want the prospective buyer of the car plants to hire them.

Meanwhile, Ford India has declared a holiday for majority workers till January 27.

About 100-200 workers have been asked to report for work to make the spares for the aftermarket, the union leader said.

–IANS

vj/dpb