Unrest at GM India unit continues

THE STRIKE by a section of workers at General Motors India’s Halol plant continued for the 17th day on Friday with no signs of ending, while the automaker has piled up a production loss of about 1,000 vehicles.

According to sources, the firm had suspended four labourers for allegedly beating a senior engineer inside the factory premises.

The firm has suspended four workers and an enquiry is pending against them. These people had physically assaulted Pragnesh Patel, who is a senior engineer and a group leader at the plant, a source said. Repeated calls to GM India’s president and MD Karl Slym and vice president P. Balendran remained unanswered.

On March 16, workers had resorted to a strike at the Halol facility, which has an installed capacity of 85,000 units a year, protesting transfer of some employees to dealership outlets and opposing a long- term wage settlement agreement signed in December last year.

The plant has one registered workers body, GM Employees’ Union. The company claims that a new union, formed under the aegis of the Congress- backed Indian National Trade Union Congress ( INTUC), has been spearheading the agitation.

The state government had earlier declared the strike illegal and imposed Section 144 of IPC near the plant location to prevent any possible gathering of agitators.

When contacted, GM Employees’ Union general secretary Bharat Maganbhai Patel said, “ About 200 workers have still not reported for duty… So far, the production loss has reached about 1,000 units in these days.”