Labour dept prohibits strike at Tata Motors plant in Sanand

The Gujarat government today prohibited the strike at the Tata Motors plant in Sanand and ordered workers, protesting the suspension of 28 colleagues, to resume work immediately. Yesterday, senior company officials offered roses to the workers, urging them not to continue with the strike.

K O Shah, additional labour commissioner of Gandhinagar, said: "We have prohibited the strike under section 10(3) of the Industrial Disputes Act, and have referred the matter to the industrial tribunal in Ahmedabad." 

Shah said the tribunal would decide if the suspension order against 28 workers at Tata Motors Sanand unit was justified, and also deliberate on whether the striking workers should be paid wages. Shah said that the workers are expected to resume work immediately as the strike has been prohibited. 

Following the labour department's action, Tata Motors management can now take legal action against the striking employees. The company, on its part, so far has been trying all means to woo back the agitating workers. 

Senior officials at the plant (about 80-odd officials) presented roses to the striking workers on Wednesday. A worker said: "We were indeed taken aback by the gesture. They came one by one and they gave us roses. They are trying to break our unity." 

According to sources, members of a spiritual organisation conducted meditation sessions with the workers. 

A company spokesperson said, “The matter is now sub-judice; we expect everyone including workers to conform to order and restore normalcy while awaiting the Tribunal’s decision.”

The strike at the Tata Motors Sanand site has entered its 11th day on Thursday, and the workers have shown no signs of reconciliation. There have been tripartite talks between the company, labour department and workers at the assistant labour commissioner's office in Ahmedabad. But the talks failed to yield any positive result. 

About 422 workers, representing about 95% of the permanent workers at the Sanand site had gone on a flash strike from February 22, protesting the suspension of 28 workers at the site. 

The plant has an installed capacity of 250,000 units per annum, and is now manufacturing the Tata Nano, while preparations are in final stages to roll out new hatchback Tiago.