Auto maker Tata Motors has forced an unsolicited three days off without pay on 6,900-odd workers at its plant and subsidiaries in Jamshedpur from Thursday amid an inventory pile-up and demand slowdown.
The plant that mainly makes chasis for trucks and vans remained shut on Wednesday as well, on account of the Chhat festival.
“As in October, unavailability of finance, coupled with high interest rates, is forcing customers to postpone purchases. We are keeping a close watch on the market scenario,” said company spokesman Debasis Ray.
As much as 95 per cent of the company’s 2,000 temporary workers are sitting out, while 900 more in a subsidiary firm that makes axles and transmissions are also in the same plight, in addition to 4,000 direct employees.
The last time the company had shut the facility in a similar fashion was in 1998-99 and 2,000 when it had suffered severe losses.
“The management took the decision in consultation with the union to cut costs and other unnecessary expenses,” said Tata Motors Workers Union spokesman Bachna Singh. Average production has fallen to 150 chassis per day from 500 in March.
“Orders from both domestic and international market have reduced. While there is very little work left for employees, the scale of wastage was going high,” Singh said.
The company's sales have been on a southward drive this year. Sales of medium and heavy commercial vehicles which are produced in the plant has declined by 8 per cent in this fiscal so far, and fell 48 per cent in October, year-on-year.