Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) has suspended close to 100 workers at its Tapukara factory in Rajasthan's Alwar district, alleging their involvement in the February 16 incidents of damage and disturbance.
Many workers had gone on a strike that day, something the company says was illegal. HMSI, part of Japanese auto major Honda, is the country’s second largest two-wheeler player. “Close to 100 workers who were found to be involved directly in sabotage were given the suspension letters”, HMSI said in an e-mail.
Another 60 workers were also sent warning letters, directing them to report for duty or face consequences. The high court in Jaipur granted bail on Tuesday to 39 of the 44 Tapukara workers who were arrested for alleged involvement in the February 16 happenings.
The letter blames some workers for inciting others, hampering production, taking control of and damaging equipment, and intimidating executives. It said the presence of these workers was not in the interest of the company. The period of suspension is not mentioned.
The warning letter accuses workers of being involved in an illegal strike and creating an atmosphere of indiscipline. And, that despite five separate directions to join work, these workers have stayed away. Business Standard has reviewed a copy of the letters.
On February 19, the company says, many workers damaged various units of the plant, seeking reinstatement of four workers who were terminated for ‘indiscipline’. The company has not been able to operate at normal capacity for the past two weeks.
Those on strike have said their decision to form a workers’ union in July last year did not go down well with the company, which was trying to stall this. The company denies this.
The factory has capacity to produce 1.2 million two-wheelers a year. Against a normal daily production of 3,000 units, the plant is producing about 2,400 units at present.
The company is trying to hire contractual workers. Of the 3,000 employees there, 2,600-2,700 are workers and the others are managerial staff. What is striking is of all workers, less than a fifth (460-470) are permanent while rest are casual/contractual.
A permanent worker’s cost to the company is approximately Rs 26,000 a month and casual worker’s is Rs 14,500 a month.