India’s second largest two-wheeler maker Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) has strongly denied the claims of a section of its sacked employees that production at its Tapukara, Rajasthan plant has been hit by labour unrest.
“There is no production loss at all at the 1.2-million units Tapukara plant in the first place. Therefore, the claims of these few sacked employees that the operation is hit is factually incorrect. In fact, we are running above our capacity. Moreover, they have no locus standi to make any such claims as they ceased to be our employees in the first week of February this year,” HMSI senior vice-president and director, general and corporate affairs, Harbhajan Singh told PTI.
Singh further said, “All our plants have either unions or worker committees. There is already a union (HMSI 2F Karamchari Union) at Tapukara and one at Manesar plant too. There is no pending labour dispute at any of our plants and the long-term wage settlements have been executed successfully after discussions with the registered unions.”
The Tapukara plant has a daily capacity of 4,400 units but is now rolling out 4,400-4,500 units to meet rising demand, Singh added. The plant produces the bike brand Shine, and the largest selling two-wheeler Activa, apart from the Dio and the latest India-only model Navi. Around 100-odd workers, some of them fighting criminal cases against them for attacking police in February, are on hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi since last week, claiming that the management is preventing employees from forming a union.
It can be noted that following labour unrest in February this year, HMSI terminated 100 permanent workers and suspended 47, out of which 25 have been taken back. Five of those on hunger strike are facing criminal cases from the Rajasthan police under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 395 (dacoity). Singh said HMSI has not filed any case and these workers were booked under various charges after they attacked the state police on the street of Gurgaon during the unrest on February 16.
HMSI started the Tapukara factory in 2011 and churns out 1.2 million scooters and bikes a year and employs 500 permanent and around 2,000 casual workers. When asked why these people are claiming the backing of the labour union of its Manesar factory, which is Honda’s first plant here, Singh said this is also factually incorrect.