Last month, there were two ‘block closures’ — from August 5 to 10, and August 28 to 31 — that sent the small-scale industries into a tailspin. Are there more such closures in the offing?
The second ‘block closure’ was in force for four days. It was actually in effect for two days in commercial vehicle plant and four days in passenger vehicle plant. In commercial plant, heavy vehicles are manufactured, while cars are manufactured in the passenger vehicle section.
So far, there is no intimation from the company about any other possible block closures.
Is there any apprehension among the employees?
Not at all. We are working with full enthusiasm. Even if the block closure comes, so what? Block closures are actually part of our agreement with the company. Annually, the company is supposed to take 18 days of block closures. Even now, block closures continue in the K plant, where cars are manufactured. Of the 2,200-old workers in the K plant, only 60 per cent employees are working. Some of the sections of the plant continue to remain closed.
Do you think demand for Tata Motors’ vehicles is sliding?
The trend is common for all auto giants. We believe that the general public is wary of the new international Euro VI norms and are waiting for vehicles that meet the international standards.
The Supreme Court has also ruled that only vehicles compliant with the Euro VI emission or standards would be allowed from 1 April, 2020.
Generally, between May and July, the demand drops. It picks up with the onset of the festive season, which lasts well into January. We are hoping the demand will revive.
The central government has also taken steps to bolster the economy and the industrial sector. The results will be seen in the coming days.
Are there a large number of unsold vehicles piled up on the company’s premises?
No, that’s not true. It should be remembered that the ‘block closure’ was initiated by the company after it had met the demand of the consumers. Because of the falling demand, it had to cut down production of new vehicles for a short period. Therefore, there was hardly any inventory of finished products. In a day, huge number of cars can be manufactured. For instance, we used to manufacture more than 400 Indica cars in one day. The management takes all necessary steps to avoid inventory from piling up.
How many workers in Pimpri-Chinchwad are dependent on Tata Motors?
Our worker strength in passenger and commercial vehicles sections together is around 6,700. There are at least 2.5 lakh families which are dependent on Tata Motors. There are thousands of vendors and sub-vendors who are linked with the company. The company has a social responsibility to do well and has always lived up to people’s expectations.
How is Tata Motors gearing up to meet the challenges?
We are all fully geared up to meet the challenges… Workers are putting in their might in tandem with the management. The company is coming with vehicles with new Euro VI norms… Besides tweaking some of our models, we have also taken to production of electric vehicles.
The employees’ union views this as a passing phase and expects demand to revive.
How is the management dealing with the current situation?
As I said, the management is fully geared up along with the workers to meet the current situation head-on. It is doing its best to churn out world-class vehicles. We have full confidence that they will do it.
The general public too has deep faith in the brand and the company has always lived up to their expectations.