Tamil Nadu

Ford employees call off strike

Ford India has appealed to the union to enable settlement of severance package to all employees by July 31.

Ford India has appealed to the union to enable settlement of severance package to all employees by July 31. | Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ

A section of employees at Ford India’s Chennai plant, which has been on strike for the last five weeks demanding a better severance package, has called off the agitation and agreed to support production. Three employees who spoke to The Hindu on Monday said they had some discussions and it was mutually agreed that the employees would support production. “But we will continue our negotiations from Wednesday through mutual dialogue,” one of them said. Employees here are hopeful that someone would buy the plant and come to their rescue.

Ford India spokesperson said the company had increased the equivalent average days in the severance package offer from earlier 115 days to 121 days for employees who are supporting production. The company said it would protect the wages and employment of employees who are reporting to work/ supporting production until July.

“We request the union to engage in dialogue without any conditions. Unreasonable demands and ongoing disruptions have proved to be an impediment and were not in anyone’s interest. We look forward to a constructive discussion with union office-bearers to ensure a timely severance package settlement for all employees was achieved by July 31,” the spokesperson said.

Last year in September, Ford had announced it would cease vehicle manufacturing operations at its Chennai plant by June 2022 on account of significant accumulated losses and inability to find a sustainable path forward. On May 30, employees started protesting seeking a better severance package and production was halted. A few days later, a section of employees agreed to support production and went to the shop floor. Last month, Ford said that production would be extended until the end of July.

At present, Ford’s Chennai plant has around 2,600 permanent hourly employees across vehicle assembly and powertrain operations.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2022 8:14:38 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ford-employees-call-off-strike/article65600174.ece