When the festival of Diwali brings a ray of hope for most professions and people, the 1,100-odd employees of Hindustan Machines Tool (HMT’s) Tractor division at Pinjore have the only ‘notional’ choice of opting for a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS). Not paid for 27 months, there are 450 employees (around 40% of the staff strength) who will lose money having left with just eight years of service before they retire at 60.
Expressing the pain of such employees after the Union cabinet decision to close down the HMT Pinjore unit on Thursday, employees union president has said, “Those who want to continue work should be allowed to join machine tools division or any other unit of HMT,” said Mahinder Singh, president, HMT Karmik Sangh.
The Union cabinet on Thursday approved a budget of Rs 718.72 crore for payment of outstanding salaries and other employee related dues at 2007 national pay scales.
The liabilities of the unit towards banks would also be paid from the budget.
“We vow to run a movement under HMT Bachao Sangharsh Samiti if our jobs are snatched from us,” said the president and added ‘we will do everything to save HMT’.
Even in machine tools division at Pinjore, employees have not received salaries for 11 month. There are around 350 employees in this division.
Reasons advanced for closure
The Cabinet has given the reason that as the tractor division was unable to pay salaries and other dues due to losses over the years and its insignificant share in tractors market and it will be prudent to close it down.
The capacity of the tractor division was once 700 tractors every month but presently it has come down to 20-35.
Things had reached such a pass that power used to be switched off during lunch hour to save money as power bill alone used to be Rs 60 lakh per month.
There has not been a single recruitment since 1993.