Tata Motors unit goes on six-day block closure on weak demand

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SummaryWeak demand for commercial vehicles has finally led Tata Motors’ heavy & medium commercial vehicles plant here to go for a six-day block closure from December 25 to 31, the longest in the current year.

Weak demand for commercial vehicles has finally led Tata Motors’ heavy & medium commercial vehicles plant here to go for a six-day block closure from December 25 to 31, the longest in the current year. This is also the fourth block closure the plant is seeing in 2012-13.

Telco Workers’ Union (TWU) sources said the company’s Lucknow plant, which produces MCVs & HCVs, particularly for buses, was “worse off” and was also seeing a block closure.

Weak demand for commercial vehicles has seen the Tata Motors’ plant here go for three block closures already in the current year.

While the first was a three-day ‘block closure’ between June 28 and 30 (for the first time since 2008-09 downturn), the second shutdown was taken from November 12 to 14, and the third between November 29 and December 1.

Asked about the current block closure, a Tata Motors spokesperson said, “All I can say is that it is a six-day block closure, with Sunday (December 30), being a paid off-day”, adding the plant would reopen for production on January 1, 2013.

The slow offtake of commercial vehicles has also forced Tata Motors and subsidiary TML Drivelines, which produces axles and transmission systems for the auto major, to lay off around 5,000 temporary workers on their rolls.

TML Drivelines too is observing a six-day block closure at its works here.

Slackness in demand for MCVs and HCVs has also led the Tata Cummins plant here, which supplies engines to Tata Motors, go slow on production of engines, with intermittent plant shut-downs being taken.

“With Tata Motors having less volume (for December), we completed production (of engines) within first 15 days (of the month); we have thereafter been partially running our plant as we supply a few components to our Phaltan plant (near Pune). As Tata Motors is not working it becomes difficult and unnecessarily expensive for us to run the full plant, so a few of our areas are operational while others are closed,” said Tata Cummins plant manager Prakash S Satsangi, adding the plant would next have full production on December 28, which would again be followed by no-production dates between December 29 and 31.

According to TWU general secretary Chandrabhan Singh the situation at the Tata Motors plant here was likely to improve in January when an “order for vehicles from the defence” is expected to come through.

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