After employees struck work for six weeks at a stretch at General Motors India’s Halol plant in Vadodara earlier this year, the company is trying to keep its flock happy. The company has promoted 383 workers of its Gujarat unit, according to workers.
"There are around 900 permanent workers at the plant, and a few hundred contractual workers. Of these, 383 permanent workers have been promoted this year," he said.
Contractual workers are not involved in the main line production, they mainly work in the house-keeping and materials-handling departments, a worker at Halol explained. He said the plant is now working to roll out the light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in the first quarter of the next financial year.
The move had surprised the workers who were apprehensive about appraisals. The workers had gone on strike twice in the six months since last October. However, through the move, the company has been able to bring back a positive environment at the plant.
"We are among the highest payers in the industry, and workers should not have any reason for complaint. When the second strike took place, it was primarily out of inter-union rivalry. Most workers resumed work within a few days, and others kept trickling in. It took them 51 days to realise that it was in their best interests to stick to GM India," said P Balendran, vice-president, corporate affairs. He said the company follows global standards of operation at all its plants.
At present, work is on in full swing as the plant gears up to produce LCVs in partnership with Shanghai Automotive Industries Corporation. GM is likely to start its trial production in October.
Meanwhile, the plant has achieved a record production of its utility vehicle Tavera this May. "We produced 1,908 units of the Tavera last month, a record number in the history of GM India," said Balendran.
"After the October strike, we had reached an agreement with the workers and subsequently a wage settlement agreement for three years was signed on December 16. That agreement is still very much on. We have only one recognised workers union at Halol, GM Employees' Union, which does not have any political affiliation," he said.