Union Workers Files Case Against GM India On Layoffs Over Non-Acceptance of VSS

The union workers of General Motors India have filed a case against the company in industrial court after the company terminated 1,086 employees when they refused to accept the Separation Scheme (VSS).

About one-third of employees at the Talegaon site has accepted the voluntary separation scheme by the July 4 deadline. The local unit of the American carmaker axed the remaining jobs on July 12.

The workers union filed a case at the industrial court in Pune on July 15, challenging the retrenchment of service, and sought a stay on the sale of the factory to Chinese SUV maker Great Wall Motors or any other party. GM had stopped production at the factory in December 2020 and had agreed to sell it to Great Wall, though the deal had been stuck in part due to the labor issue at the plant.

The company also shared in media that it terminated the services of the remaining workforce as it did not have any work. The employees whose services were terminated were paid 15 days’ wages per year of service, one month notice period pay, and other statutory and terminal benefits, it said.

Sandeep Bhegade, President of General Motors Employees Union, shared in media that the Industrial Disputes Act was much more powerful than the standing order. “The union believes the retrenchment act done by General Motors with employees is illegal as per the Industrial Disputes Act … and the union is fighting for the same in the industrial court,” he said.

Earlier in June, GM India had reached out to individual employees and had extended a separation package of 110 days of salary for each completed year of service instead of the 75-day settlement plan offered earlier. This offer was 50 percent higher than its previous offer to the employees.

The company has claimed earlier that several employees had indicated their interest in taking up the separation offer, which encouraged the company to extend the scheme by four more days. However, people close to the protesting workers say over 90 percent of the unionized workforce are still in favor of retaining their job and have not taken up the offer.

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