Shutters down: Tata Motors in Jamshedpur on Monday. (Animesh Sengupta)
The global auto slowdown has forced Tata Motors and subsidiary TML Drivelines to stop production from Monday to January 1, 2014, in their biggest block closure of this fiscal, putting employees and ancillary units in despair.
Production will resume from January 2.
The fall in demand for heavy commercial vehicles is said to be the reason behind the forced shutdown.
The company had earlier issued a circular in this regard stating it would take a suspension of nine working days from December 23 to January 1. December 29 will be treated as a weekly off.
Though Tata Motors spokesperson Captain P.J. Singh trotted out standard phrases such as “work suspension will help matching production with demand and avoid unnecessary build-up of inventory”, the writing was clear on the wall.
Suspension of work means around 10,000 employees across Tata Motors and TML Drivelines will be paid half a day salary for each of the days the plants remain shut.
In November, the Jamshedpur plant of Tata Motors rolled out around 4,000 heavy commercial vehicles, including trucks, trailers and other multi-axle options.
This month, production was below 3,000 due to lack of orders. Production of gearboxes and axles at TML Drivelines also went down in November and December.
Santosh Singh, a senior functionary of Telco Workers’ Union, said the company was looking to curb production to “better align production with demand”.
The company had earlier halted production as many as four times since July.
In the 2012-13 fiscal, Tata Motors shut down operations as many as six times. The first and the last of the block closures lasted six days each in June 2012 and March 2013. In between, the company observed four block closures of three days each.
The mood turned dismal at Adityapur ancillary units at adjoining Seraikela-Kharsawan, as 500 firms that manufacture components for Tata Motors will be directly hit.
“Most ancillary units will either be shut or not operate at full capacity during the next 10 days,” said R.K. Sinha, an industrialist and former president of Adityapur Small Industries Association (ASIA). “Production is down as Tata Motors is buying fewer auto components.”
A workforce of 80,000-odd permanent and contractual workers of Adityapur are staring at uncertainty. Large, medium and small-scale units are working single shifts, as opposed to three.
“Suspension of work for such long days (at Tata Motors) will result in huge financial loss for ancillary units at Adityapur. Tough times ahead,” said Gurudas Ray, general secretary of ASIA.
How has the block closure affected your family?