Employees of Automotive Coaches and Components Ltd. (ACCL) who protested outside an Ashok Leyland facility in Ennore were arrested on Sunday.

The 350-strong crowd demanded that either Ashok Leyland take over ACCL or provide them jobs at other units of Ashok Leyland. The protesters were later released. Employees said the company, situated in Gummidipoondi, was started as a joint sector enterprise of Ashok Leyland and TIDCO Ltd. in 1986. It has over 700 employees. However, recently, the company sold a portion of its shares to another firm, retaining just minority stakes in ACCL.

“Our company used to build bodies for buses and tipper lorries. But for several months now, we haven’t received any orders from Ashok Leyland. If there are no orders, we will not get our salaries. Only a portion of the August salary was disbursed last week. Many of us joined the company because it was a Leyland enterprise,” said an employee.

Other employees said that company had not also been providing uniforms, shoes, shops and towels that are mandatory. Most workers are welders and painters and hail from north Chennai.

The company in a statement said: “Since July 2011, Ashok Leyland has not had controlling stakes in ACCL. The majority stakes of ACCL are owned by M/s. Hardrock Fabrication Group, which is also responsible for the management of the company.”

However, Ashok Leyland retained minority stakes in ACCL. The depletion of orders was due to the recent fall in demand for commercial vehicles, the statement said, adding that Ashok Leyland would facilitate a resolution of the problems faced by ACCL and its employees.

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