Hindustan Motors, the country’s oldest car manufacturer has suspended work in its Uttarpara plant because of labour unrest. The suspension will see around 4,000 employees without work.
The company’s official reason for the suspension cited the continuous harassment caused by a small group of workers against 2,200 others, who were reporting to work, and preventing an additional 1,000 from joining duty.
The notice of suspension was issued on Tuesday night, after a contempt of notice was slapped on the striking workers.
Hindustan Motors, in a statement, said notices were also being served to 10 union representatives. Meanwhile, a court has ordered that no breach of peace take place in Uttarpara and has asked authorities to comply with an order passed by the court on 28 March.
“It is a 700-acre (area) and there are security issues,” said company spokeswoman Soni Shrivastav. “The raw materials are neither being allowed inside the facility nor are the finished products being allowed outside. Because of this disconcerting situation, we had to call the suspension.”
The company, which used to make 40 Ambassador cars every day prior to the strike, was down to 20 cars a day since the announcement of a strike on 13 March.
The company said it is yet to compute the losses that will be incurred each day due to suspension of production.
There are five registered trade unions that operate in the Uttarpara plant. The strike was called by the joint-platform of Sangrami Shramik Karmachari Union, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and All India Trade Union Congress, to protest the suspension of 15 workers and alleged non-payment of salary for two months.
The company had sought the intervention of the Calcutta high court for increased police protection.
While Subrata Mookerjee, president of the Bengal INTUC has declared the strike illegal and has called for government intervention in the matter, Shrivastav insisted the suspension would continue as long as the company does not reach an amicable solution with the workers.
A hearing of the Calcuttahigh court on the matter is scheduled for 17 April.