General Motors India has invoked Sec 25 of the Industrial Disputes Act as it laid off 1419 workmen employed at its Talegaon factory. The company sent a notice to all the employees through an email and a copy of the same was also served to the President and Secretary of the General Motors Employees Union on Friday ie 16 April 2021.
The Union is likely to challenge the move through legal recourse. The notice has been displayed at the noticeboard of the factory gate and would remain effective till further notice, the notice said. The workers would be eligible for 50% of the basic wages and dearness allowance, based on the previous month's offtake, as per Sec 25C of the Industrial Dispute Act 1947.
“Since the lay-offs have been declared largely because of Covid 19 being a natural calamity, no prior permission from the appropriate authority has been sought, nor is the same necessary under Section 25-M of the ID Act,” the notice said.
Mr.George Svigos, International Director for communications, General Motors shared that despite there being no vehicles being manufactured for the last four months, the company had continued to pay the employees. However, the company prefers that the employees accept the separation package and have a smooth transition from GM.
The production at the Talegaon plant had ceased on 24 December’2020. There is no further prospect of resuming production, it also confirmed. The Company has been incurring a wage expense of Rs.10 crore per month since December 2020.
“We have offered employees a separation package well in excess of the statutory requirement. Regrettably, the Union has refused to negotiate the separation package, so the company has been compelled to explore all legal options available to the company to support the wind-down of operations at the site”: George Svigos, International Director for Communications, General Motors.
The President of the GM Employees Union, Mr.Sandeep Bhegade confirmed the receipt of the notice but also said that the Union will be challenging the notice on a legal forum.
GM has also taken another recourse to layoff the workmen, by writing to the Additional Commissioner of Labour, Pune of the rampant spread of Covid19 virus and how it has been hence forced to have this layoff, in the interest of workers safety. “We, therefore, intimate you under Rule 79-A of the Industrial Disputes Rules,1957, that we have laid off 1419 workmen with effect from April 16, 2021.” GM is confident of its legal position and will seek all the relevant government approvals to wind down its operations.