Auto component sector demands labour reforms

"We would like to have all employees as permanent as we invest a lot on them. However, we are not allowed to layoff if there is any ups and downs in the market. The efficiency and capability issues of a worker are also there.

"There should be some flexibility in the labour laws as per market requirements and so these should be reformed," Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) Vice President Arvind Kapur told reporters here.

ACMA has been in discussion with the government regarding reforms as this is going to be a "concern", he added. Last month, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) had also asked for labour reforms to allow companies to terminate services of permanent employees during a slowdown, but with adequate unemployment benefits.

Earlier, major vehicle manufacturers had called for labour law reforms, while trade unions had said existing rules must be implemented strictly to avoid confrontations. Talking about the current labour problem at Maruti Suzuki India's Manesar plant, Kapur said: "It is a serious issue. When any such incident happens, it affects other players also in the same area. At times such issues spread to the entire industrial belt."

Kapur, who is also the Managing Director of Rico Auto that had seen violent labour protests in the past, said the Indian component industry employs a total of about 20 lakh people and it is estimated to double in the next five years.

Accepting some of the issues of workers, ACMA President Srivats Ram said: "Inflation is going very high in the country in the recent past. Consumer habits have also changed." There are other things also that have led to an overall change in the aspirations of the workers, he added

The managements of different companies are also trying to match the employees' aspirations, said Ram, who is also the Managing Director of Wheels India.

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