Honda workers plan 17-km protest march on FridayUpdated: Nov 20, 2019 22:51 IST
Gurugram More than 2,000 workers of the Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) plant in IMT Manesar, along with workers and union members of several other automotive plants in the area, have decided to hold a demonstration on Friday if demands of the HMSI workers, who are on strike since November 5, are not met.
Members of the HMSI workers’ union said they would be marching from IMT Manesar to the Mini Secretariat in Gurugram on Friday. A meeting was held at Tau Devi Lal Park in Sector 53 on Wednesday, in which several workers’ unions of automotive manufacturers in Manesar and Gurugram took part.
“All unions have extended support for the demonstration. The 17-kilometre route between IMT and Mini Secretariat near Rajiv Chowk on NH-48 and could be blocked as a result,” said Suresh Gaur, president of the union. He added that another demonstration has been planned for November 27 at the Hero Honda Chowk.
Workers have demanded that the 650 contractual workers let go of by the company be recalled or be paid a compensation of ₹1 lakh, for each year of service, per worker.
Meanwhile, the European Workers Platform (EWP), a trade union platform, representing unions of Honda in Europe, issued a statement of solidarity with the striking workers in Manesar. “We are truly inspired by your resistance for the protection of your rights…We salute you and we stand united in solidarity to your cause,” the statement, signed by Fidel Gavilian, coordinator of the platform, reads.
The statement also adds that the both the workers in Manesar and European countries are fighting for the same causes, and that they will “continue the fight until we have rightly addressed the balance between worker and management and established our rights as workers”.
In an email to Hindustan Times, Gavilian noted that Honda had announced earlier this year it would close its factory at Swindon in the United Kingdom, leaving thousands of workers without a job. “The closure of Swindon will impact other facilities, as Swindon centralizes several activities for other European plants. Our biggest fear is that Honda may leave Europe,” he wrote.
Honda spokespersons were asked for a comment on the issue on Wednesday, but they did not respond.
Production has been shut at the HMSI’s Manesar plant since November 11. A notice for the same, issued by the management on November 10, said, “Due to the prevailing IR (industrial relations) situation, plant operations have been suspended and the plant will remain closed till further intimation.”
The operations have not been initiated. In a statement issued earlier this month, Honda had said the workers, whose term had completed, had been relieved of services due to demand fluctuations and production adjustment.
In August, Honda had laid off about 700 contract workers because of a production cut, according to figures released by the company. Officials of the company had said that the industry is facing a demand slump and the job losses were a consequence of the downturn.
HMSI sales fell marginally to 517,808 units in October, down from 521,170 units a year earlier. Demand for two-wheelers and cars has declined as consumers spend less because of a downturn in economic growth, which eased to an over six-year low of 5% in the quarter ended June, according to Honda.
Gurugram is the country’s largest automotive hub, housing more than 1,000 automotive manufacturing companies that employ around 15 lakh workers. Contractual workers, typically migrants from other parts of India, generally bear the brunt of any company effort at cutting costs, and sometimes, layoffs have resulted in labour unrest.