Tata Motors gets Pune workers to run Sanand plant

At a time when Tata Motors' Sanand plant is getting ready to roll out a new car on a completely new platform, the Tiago hatchback, the site is hit by a strike for the past three weeks, with no resolution in sight yet. To continue with the production plan, the company has brought in around 250 workers from its Pune plant, according to sources in the know.

“There has been some impact on production though not significantly especially with our major focus on quality to ensure delivery of flawless products to our customers. Our plant continues to remain in production every day and as part of project related activities, employees do travel across plants based on requirements from time to time,” said a company spokesperson in an email response.

Bookings for the Tiago opened on March 10.

“Even senior engineers are working on the shop floor and the assembly line to ensure the plant continues to roll out cars and that the production target is maintained. However, it would be difficult for them to bring back the rhythm that the existing team had achieved,” said a worker on condition of anonymity.

Tata Motors' Sanand plant has an installed capacity of 250,000 cars a year, most of which has remained idle over the years owing to the muted demand for the Nano.

The plant was earlier dedicated to Nano, and according to Gujarat government's response to a query in the Assembly in February this year, the plant produced 42,561 Nano cars between January 2014 and December 2015. The plant started producing the new hatchback from December and in January, production had reached 100 cars a day. The plan was to scale that up to 250-cars per day by March.   

However, 422 permanent workers at the site went on a flash strike from February 22.

Since then, the production of the Tiago has waned.

Around 50 Tiagos are being made every day, said workers. And, there is an inventory of 1,400 cars. The plant is also making Nanos, at 60-70 a day.

The state government is trying to mediate between the workers and the management to find a resolution. The workers demand that all the 28 workmen who had been suspended by the company be taken back, while the company is firm that all workmen except those suspended can resume duty.

The labour department had prohibited the strike on March 2, after which the company set a deadline of March 11 for the striking workers to join back. It has, however, not yet taken any legal action against the striking workers. The workers, on the other hand, have garnered support from 22 trade unions across the state, and plan to continue their agitation.