Automobile companies sack workers only to pressure Modi govt to reduce GST on their products

Indian youths struggle to get a job and that’s the reality. Even if they are seen working in some companies, their work standards are of poor quality. Millions of students study in different colleges with intentions to get a good job. But the reality is that there are a majority of degree holders when compared to the ones who are doing decent jobs in India.

But this is nothing new as the problem has been there for a long time. Not a long ago, the nation witnessed a growing trend where overqualified candidates have been applying for posts of ‘peons’ and ‘constables’ which depict a complete message of the current unemployment situation in India.

The lives of contract workers have also not been good as the stories of job cuts abound. Many are losing their jobs in Tamil Nadu due to the slowdown in the auto sector.

Benny and his friend Prasanna were working as trainees in a two-wheeler factory at Oragadam, an auto hub located in Chennai.

The duo were part of around 700 contract workers at the massive factory who were recently taken off.

Siva who is a worker at a foundry in Coimbatore also lost his job. He now works as a driver and earns half his earlier salary and that is the current situation.

It should be noted that Benny, Prasanna and Siva are among 80,000 to 1,00,000 workers who have lost their jobs in Tamil Nadu alone.

However, several stakeholders in the sector allege that while demand has declined, some OEMs are removing contractual workers in a bid to pressure the government into cutting down the GST on autos and auto parts.

Companies like Daimler, Nissan, Apollo Tyres, Yamaha, Ashok Leyland and firms from TVS Group have all reduced their contract workforce. These companies took one step ahead in this process by also cutting back on the number of working days, something that Hyundai has done too.

Soundararajan general secretary of CITY, Tamil Nadu, alleges that many units in the state have removed around 1,000 contract workers and trainees each. But Daimler denies this claim and adds that they ave reduced temporary jobs only by around 200.

“We have had a few non-production days We continue to adjust our production as per marker demands. We have decided to go with single-shift production for the interim. We have had to let go of a few contractual workers and will look into optimisation of contracts to adjust to market realities. However, there will be no job cuts of permanent wokers,” the Daimler spokesperson added.

Despite CITU’s claim that Apollo Tyres has laid off around 100 contract jobs, the company’s spokesperson says,” Though the demand for our tyres in the replacement market is still strong, the slowdown in the vehicle sales has resulted in less demand from the OEs. Out production is turned to the market demand. In the current scenario, there is a need to rationalise production, including rationalising the contractual manpower.”

At TVS Group firms, Ashok Leyland, Hyundai and Royal Enfield there have been internal circulars announcing a decline in production and meanwhile, an email sent to Yamaha India reportedly says that they have cut around 700 temporary jobs did not generate any response. Nissan also denied the trade union’s claim that it had laid off around 1000 temporary jobs at its Renault-Nissan plant in Chennai.