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Workers in Ford Chennai protest as anger grows

“We want our job,” is a single voice echoing throughout the Ford India workforce at the Malai Maranagar facility, which will shut down all operations by the end of this month.

The employee has been protesting here for the past 10 days and is seeking to keep their job or a better reconciliation package. Many workers actually left home and now decide to stay in the factory for a week. Women are also part of the protest, unfolding a story of despair and hope.

For about three weeks, Ford asked employees to not protest inside the facility and to guarantee in writing that they would continue to work until the plant was completely shut down and the factory was closed.

However, workers have not signed this agreement and have been hitting it ever since. They buy food with their own money and from outside through the Union. People who used to protest in the field have now come out near the factory gates to continue this. As a result, production has stopped badly.

According to the majority of employees, the company is looking for ways to solve the deadlock. “They also closed the toilets in the facility,” complains workers who want to remain anonymous. Some are willing to record, for example, Karthik, who has worked in the factory for the last 12 years.

He argues that the severance pay offered is so small that it will be difficult to survive if you lose your job in the coming weeks. “We have a mortgage, our kids go to school, our families depend on our income. It would be really difficult for us all to get a job elsewhere.” He says

Balaj, who joined Karthik in 2010, added that the ideal scenario would be to take over the business to another company. “All we want is our work,” he says, of course.

Female employees participating in protests reflect the feelings of Baraj. According to her, the facility has about 70 women (total workforce of over 2,000), with an average age of only 30 years. work. This is especially difficult for women when it comes to getting a job in the automotive industry, “she says.

There is a lot of hope in the air that miracles will actually happen and the show may continue. The harsh reality is that most of these women planned their future based on their tenure at Ford India. “We come from small towns and villages, stay in nearby hostels and commute. Most of us are the first graduates of our family and we want a bright future. Today, our dreams are completely shattered, “she suffocates.

The fact that other Ford facilities in Sanand, Gujarat have found a buyer at Taya Motors is similar to salting the wounds of the Chennai workforce. From their point of view, this is a legacy plant that marked the beginning of Ford’s journey in India. Although the number of employees in Gujarat is small, they have a lifeline, but employees here in Malai Maranagar are left behind in the cold.

Laksh Mina Rayanan, Ford Union of the Division Committee says this. “The factory in Chennai was profitable, so the factory in Sanand started. While we were part of this effort, Sanand workers were guaranteed their work and we Is left behind. “

Obviously, while Tamil Nadu does not have the same level of patience, the Gujarat government feels that it has taken a step further to support Sanand’s workforce. Maraimalainagar employees want the state government to provide some assistance, but there are no signs that this is happening so far.

There is a lot of anger at Ford as well. “The company used the term restructuring. What if they sent us out in a settlement and rehired the workers? Also, reinstate operations with the joint venture or new workers. You can even sell the plant to another buyer who hires you, “one of them complains.

It is irrelevant to already know that Ford has also shelved the center’s PLI proposal to manufacture electric vehicles in India for supply worldwide. It was expected that Maraima lainagar could be restarted for this exercise until it went into the air. However, Ford revealed that the burial of PLI ended the story of India.

However, not many people are buying the story. “Ford promised they wouldn’t come back and said the settlement was the best they could do, but the company was approved by the PLI scheme and the media was able to tell this.” Says another worker.

The underlying message is that all the trust that has been built up over the years has been lost. “I was really sad to hear the news of their departure, but news like PLI only means they weren’t transparent to us,” he continues. This fact convinces them that the company may be planning a new Indian business model without the current workforce.

Shiva, a member of the protesting workforce, wants the company to “sit down and talk.” He is categorical about not accepting reconciliation. “It’s not a solution, especially when working here for a lot of people and giving this facility a seat and blood. I boarded as soon as I finished my diploma many years ago. Many have been working on a couple of shifts and even overtime for the benefit of the company, and this is how they treat us, “he laments.

As he says, it is not only more than 2,000 workers whose livelihoods are at stake, but also their families, with the exception of ancillary suppliers. “The closure of this plant will affect about 40,000 families. Some suppliers have also announced that they will close their businesses. The Tamil Nadu Government needs to take appropriate steps,” says Shiva.

This is not easy, depending on the scope of your imagination, even if previous reports have shown that Hyundai and Ora Electric are open to the idea of ​​acquiring the Malai Maranagar facility. Also, a cruel coincidence is that General Motors is facing a similar problem at Taregaon near Pune. Here, the former suitor, Great Wall Motor, will not wait forever to build a foothold here.

With all the signs, if both Ford and GM shut down their factories by the end of June and violence broke out, it could be the beginning of more problems for the Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu governments. In these times of trials where it is impossible to get a job, the fear of being unemployed and pressed against the wall only leads to unconscious anger. It remains to be seen how the two state governments manage this issue.


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Workers in Ford Chennai protest as anger grows
Workers in Ford Chennai protest as anger grows
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https://www.autocarpro.in/news-national/ford-chennai-workers-protest-as-anger-mounts-81913 Workers in Ford Chennai protest as anger grows

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