More than 1,000 workers protesting against the General Motors Workers Union have decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike from October 2, after their long-standing demand to be retained by the plant’s new owners – Hyundai Motor India – was rejected by the State Government. Maharashtra. .
The decision to go on strike comes after a series of failed talks between labor unions and the Maharashtra government, which agreed to sell the assets of the General Motors Talegaon facility to the South Korean carmaker on July 5, 2023. The Asset Purchase Agreement was later signed. signature. on August 16.
The GM facility will help Hyundai Motor India increase its production capacity to one million units from its current capacity of 8,20,000 units at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
The plant is however not owned by the American carmaker but is leased to General Motors by the government for 95 years. Although GM retains the right to sell its plants and other assets, the lease will be transferred to Hyundai after the labor department receives an NOC from the workers. that they have been paid.
On this basis, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) of the state may initiate the transfer process to Hyundai Motors India Limited (HMIL).
Completion of the acquisition and divestiture is subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions precedent, including the receipt of regulatory approvals from relevant government authorities and stakeholders, according to an earlier press release from HMIL.
HMIL has not given any clear indication as to whether it intends to absorb the workers or not, and the General Motors Union has already offered the former workers a VRS scheme, which they have rejected. The case is now in the Mumbai High Court.
The Mumbai High Court accepted the workers’ petition for review of the Pune Industrial Court’s decision to close the Talegon factory under Section 25-0 of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947.
According to the spokesperson of the GM union, the Mumbai High Court has not only accepted their case but has also heard the arguments of both sides and is expected to give its decision soon.
“Whether the decision is for us or against us, both sides have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court of India. The issue will drag on for a few years before the Supreme Court finally reserves a decision on the issue that everyone will have to consider. , ” a representative of the GM union said.
I do not believe that any company can wait indefinitely, and it is up to the government to intervene and ensure that the best results are created, the association’s spokesperson added.
The Labor Party is disappointed that the government administration has repeatedly ignored their requests to all opposing parties to reach an agreement and submit a compromise formula.
The workers believe they have no choice but to “fast to death” because the state government is ignoring their pleas, according to a union official who explained the cause of the hunger strike is unknown.
Since 2021, the General Motors Workers Union has filed multiple lawsuits against the company in various courts for what they believe to be the “unlawful termination” of 1,086 workers.
Workers have rejected General Motors India’s latest attempt to solve the problem by implementing the VRS scheme, as proposed by General Motors Director Prajot Gaonkar.
According to the union, the Maharashtra government said in its order to sell GM’s assets to Hyundai that workers should be paid 110 days’ compensation a year because the plant was underperforming.
According to the order, both parties must ensure that the interests of the workers are met without taking a firm position on the issue, where the workers now want the government to intervene.