Over 600 employees at Volvo Buses India Pvt Ltd, an Indian subsidiary of Swedish bus maker Volvo Bus Corporation, have launched an indefinite strike at their plant at Hoskote, about 35 km from Bangalore. The workers of the two-year-old bus plant are demanding confirmation of temporary employees and reinstatement of those who were suspended in April this year, in addition to wage hike.
The go-slow, that started about three months ago, demanding a wage hike among other issues, has caused a loss of close to Rs 50 crore to the management till now as the company has lost production of over 60 buses, a company spokesperson told Business Standard. This is the first strike in Volvo’s bus plant in India.
Volvo Buses India Pvt Ltd is a joint venture between Volvo Bus Corporation of Sweden and Azad Group of Bangalore. Volvo holds a 70 per cent stake in the joint venture. The factory started operations in January 2008.
“We have had discussions with the union on its regular charter of demands 25 times now. However, discussions have reached a deadlock since the union now seeks to link these discussions to revoking the suspension of four employees who were suspended last April,” the official spokesperson said.
The suspension is linked to “an act of misconduct, which is grave in nature”, wherein certain employees used physical force against their managers, including the unit head, an expatriate. Thereon, they kept these managers hostage for eight hours into the wee hours of the night, without food and water, the company said.
“For the sake of the organisation principles and for all employees and their working environment, such an incident is not negotiable. At the same time, this suspension is pending enquiry and it’s best to allow that process to run independently,” the official added.
According to Volvo Buses Workers’ Union, the management has not been responding to their demands. Several temporary workers have been awaiting probation, and probationary workers have been waiting to be made permanent for the past two years. The company has not acted on the union’s demands, a worker said.