Slowdown squeeze on Tatas - Five-day holiday to halt assembly of commercial vehicles

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By ANKUSH SINGH in Jamshedpur
  • Published 5.11.08

Jamshedpur, Nov. 5: Tata Motors has shut down its assembly line of commercial vehicles for five days from today to optimise resources in the face of falling production targets as a result of the current economic slowdown.

The country’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles has declared holidays on November 6, 7 and 8. As a result, assembly of vehicles has been stalled at its Jamshedpur plant from today — holiday for Chhath — till November 9, a Sunday.

The move, which company officials claimed was a cost-cutting measure to facilitate proper utilisation of resources, comes after Tata Motors pulled out 3,200 temporary workers due to plummeting production targets.

Till March, Tata Motors was working on a target of assembling more than 450 vehicles per day.

A week ago, this came down to 170 per day. Company officials feared the target may further drop to 150 per day if the situation didn’t improve in the next few weeks.

“We have taken this decision as the production target has come down drastically in the last few months. The slowdown in infrastructure development work has adversely affected the demand for commercial vehicles across the country,” said a senior Tata Motors official.

The company issued a circular yesterday to inform employees about the block holiday.

However, those on emergency duty have been kept out of its purview.

Company officials did not rule out more such block holidays in the future if production targets continued to fall drastically.

“The decision of block closure would optimise resource utilisation of the company. Moreover, it would also help in preventing unnecessary build-up of inventory,” said an official spokesperson of Tata Motors.

Tata Motors Union (TMU), which has taken the move in its stride, maintained the decision would help the company combat the slowdown.

“A couple of months ago we were only speculating about the reason behind the fall in production. Now it’s clear the company has been hit by the slowdown,” said Baccha Singh, a union spokesperson.

The slowdown, he said, required some rigorous steps, one of which was the block holiday. But the company was in good health, Singh maintained.

“A couple of months ago the company declared a handsome bonus to employees. This year, the services of more than 600 temporary workers have been regularised,” Singh added.