Pune, April 19, 2021: Automobile manufacturer General Motors India Pvt Ltd (GMIPL) has informed the Maharashtra Labour department that it has laid off 1419 employees from April 16, 2021, who worked at its Talegaon plant where production is closed since December 2020. The employees’ union said that they will challenge the termination in court.
In a letter to the Additional Labour Commissioner Pune, General Motors India’s plant manager Bina Kothadia stated, “The workers are entitled to lay off compensation under Rule 31.08 of the certified Standing Order of General Motors India Pvt. Ltd., and Section 25 C of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.”
General Motors India Pvt Ltd’s manufacturing plant is located at Plot No. A-16, MIDC Talegaon Industrial Area, Phase 2 Extension in Maval taluka of Pune district. The company produced automobile vehicles and powertrain engines at the plant. The company stopped production at the plant on December 20, 2020.
The letter further states, “In 2017, the company had shut its domestic sales operations in India as it suffered a significant loss due to low vehicle demand in the Indian auto market. After which, the company focused on building vehicles for overseas markets to keep the factory running. However, the company’s overseas market sales also declined.
In March 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic struck another blow to the company, reducing production, and crushing all hopes of production revival.
Despite all the business difficulties, the company paid full wages to all the employees at the plant. The amount totaled Rs 10 crore. The company tried its best to keep the Talegaon plant running, however, all efforts failed due to loss of customers and various other reasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the automotive sector across the globe.
On November 20, 2021, the company had submitted a closure application to the Maharashtra state government to close the plant which was declined. The company has moved the High Court against this and the matter is sub-judice.
As of December 20, 2020, GMIPL had no product orders or assembly work due to declining demand in the foreign market for the products manufactured at its Talegaon plant, and the COVID-19 pandemic. This has created an uncertain obstacle to any future plant operations and hence, the company shut operations at the plant.
As COVID19 is a natural calamity, no prior permission was taken from the competent authority to close the plant as per section 25-M of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.”
The company has sent an email to the employees as well as pasted a notice at the plant about employees whose jobs have been terminated. A copy was also given to the secretary of the General Motors Employees Union.
Sandeep Bhegade, president of the union, said that they will challenge the termination of the jobs in the court.