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Ford workers seek government intervention

Chennai, June 18 (IANS) The newly-formed employees union at Ford India has sought the government’s intervention in making the car company start negotiations with it.

‘We have sent a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Labour requesting him to take necessary action so that Ford India starts negotiations with our union,’ Ford India Employees Union general secretary A. Satish Kumar told IANS.

Kumar said the union was formed nearly a month ago and the company was informed about it through post.

Like all other multinational corporations, Ford India has a Workers Committee that takes up the workers’ issues with the management and get it solved.

‘We continuously engage in and encourage open dialogue between employees and management. We are pleased that the partnership among all employees contributes to the growing success of Ford India. We prefer to keep these employee-management discussions internal, which respects their confidentiality,’ President and Managing Director of Ford India Michael Boneham told IANS.

It is a second coming for the workers union at Ford India. In 2003, the workers did form a union but it was not registered.

About FIEMU’s demands, Kumar said: ‘The current practise of debiting our leave account on days when the plant is shut down for maintenance should be stopped. Similarly, the workers should not be forced to compensate for the 10-minute tea break time taken.’

He said Ford India at its Maraimalai Nagar plant has around 3,000 workers out of which around 1,200 are permanent workers.

The company is in the process of hiring another 1,000 workers so that it can start running second shift owing to the increased orders for its new small car Figo.

‘The new recruits will mostly be apprentices. It is also a worrying factor. The ratio of permanent workers to other class of workers (apprentices, casual workers) is as such skewed in favour of the latter and there is a sense of job insecurity amongst our members,’ he said.

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