Striking Comstar Automotive workers plan fast

August 19th, 2011 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Aug 19 (IANS) Striking workers at the automotive component maker Comstar Automotive Technologies Pvt Ltd plan fast along with their family members as their next course of action if their demands are not met.

Around 425 workers of Comstar Automotive are on strike for the past eight days, demanding recognition of their union and negotiation of three-year wage accord that ended in March.

“We are on strike from Aug 11, demanding union recognition and negotiating the next wage accord,” Comstar Automotive Technologies Employees’ Union (CATEU) general secretary D. Natarajan told IANS.

“If the conciliation talks at the labour department fail, we plan to bring our family members to the protest venue and also start fasting,” he added.

Natarajan said the company has around 490 permanent workers and around 350 temporary workers — trainees and apprentices.

Comstar Automotive manufactures and supplies auto components like starters and alternators for cars and light commercial vehicles (LCV).

The company website claims that it is a tier I supplier for companies like Ford Motor Company, Volvo, Tata Motors and others.

Comstar Automotive, formerly Visteon Powertrain, was set up in 1998 to supply starters and alternators for Ford’s European operations.

It supplies over 1.1 million starter motors and one million sub-assemblies annually to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) around the world and India.

“On a normal day production, starters and alternators would be around 8,000 and 500 units respectively,” Natarajan said.

“The plant also has the capacity to make 10,000 starter kits for exports. Now the production is around 25 percent of the normal day operations,” he added.

He said the union has submitted a charter of 35 demands, including those relating to wage revision, social security of workers and recognition of worker union.

According to him, the company offers just three days of casual leave for the workers in a year though the labour department had suggested 10 days.

Natarajan said the company has suspended four workers for distributing notices to workers and also made a false assault complaint to the police against some.

When contacted by IANS, company officials declined to comment on the strike.

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