Ford India seems to have earned the ire of its workers at its Maraimalai Nagar plant near Chennai. The company workers are protesting over their reduced incentives. About 1,800 workers were at the receiving end of incentive reduction by the US-based car maker.
There is no violence nor are they posing any threat to the production rather they are protesting silently. The workers have started skipping lunch provided by the company and are also refusing to travel by company transport since the past few days. The incentive of these workers was reduced by about 10 percentage points for the last year despite production going up.
Requesting anonymity a worker said, “We are protesting silently. We want them at least to match the previous year's incentive level."
"The management has said production is not the only metric, there are others like design which has not been met," he added.
Ford India paid 26 per cent of the basic pay as incentives to the workers when the production was at 1.06 lakh units. In the corresponding year in 2013, the production was up by 1.22 lakh units, but the incentive was cut down by 15.8 per cent according to the workers. The workers passing this information emphasised the need to have a trade union to address such issues. Currently, the workers issues are dealt by a Workers Committee and there is no Ford recognised staff union.
It seems like the Indian automobile companies are not only battling the difficult market situation but also to keep their workers happy. Last week Toyota workers protested over wage hike issues forcing the company to announce a lockout. There hasn’t been any official word from Ford yet, and we believe such issues should be dealt with immediately before matters get worse.
Ford India has released an official statement on this issue saying, “Incentives on performance metrics is an open and transparent process at Ford India and we have full support of all the workers with such communications happening at regular intervals where managers discuss the progress to a metric and answer queries. There are multiple dimensions in determining performance metrics which varies year on year basis internal and external factors. Despite tough market conditions, Ford India continues to provide best-in-industry work environment, incentives and is creating significant employment opportunities. Ford India has a valid and well-functioning employee participation forum made up of interested and democratically elected employees with whom we enjoy a strong relationship and we prefer to have these discussions within the Company and our employees to respect confidentiality.’’
Images: Driving Ford