Bajaj raises output at troubled facility, Chakan

Bajaj Auto on Friday increased production slightly at its troubled motorcycle making facility at Chakan, Maharashtra even as majority of workers did not report to duty.

Though the partial strike entered its fourth day on Friday, about 300 workers reported to work up from around 200 which turned up on Wednesday. The plant employs about 1,500 permanent workers.

Production at the Chakan plant, which makes the Pulsar, KTM , Kawasaki and Avenger range, saw an increase to 750 units today from 600 units produced on Wednesday. Thursday was a weekly off day and the plant was shut.

Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, said in a message, “Attendance up to about 300 and production likely to be up to about 750, both improving”. The situation outside and within the Chakan plant premises has been peaceful since the strike began.

Production at the plant suffered during the last two working days following the tool down strike by a section of workers over their demands which were not adressed. The management at Bajaj Auto has clarified that current demands including option to workers over subscription of 500 equity shares at discounted rates and wage increments cannot be negotiated upon.

The Chakan plant has been operating at a fraction of its usual levels since Tuesday. Though the installed capacity of the plant is in excess of 4000 units a day the company had been operating 3,000 units a day before the labour trouble began.

As a precautionary measure against complete choking of supplies, Bajaj Auto has shifted production of the Pulsar range to its oldest and biggest plant in Waluj, Aurangabad. The company, which made 100 Pulsars from Aurangabad on Thursday will increase production at this plant if situation fails to improve at Chakan.

The company sources about 80 per cent of the total content of its products from vendors which gives it the flexibility to start production of certain models from alternate locations. Presently with the available manpower at Chakan the company has routed it to make the KTM range in view of the export commitments made to overseas distributors.

The management cautioned that it had enough inventory of Pulsar motorcycles with itself, along with those with dealers, at hand for next four- five weeks. Bajaj Auto’s other models such as Discover, Platina and Boxer are made at its Pantnagar, Uttarakhand and Aurangabad plant.