US car major Ford has extended the deadline for accepting the severance package by the workers at the closure-bound Chennai factory to June 18 from June 14. The plant has resumed operations after two weeks’ strike by workers seeking better compensation package. Ford said that those who still continue to be on strike will be slapped with loss of pay.
In an e-mailed response, a Ford India spokesperson told FE: “The Chennai plant has resumed operation with effect from June 14, 2022. For employees continuing to be on an illegal strike, a ‘loss of pay’ as per the certified standing orders will come into effect today (June 14, 2022).”He said that pursuant to the notice dated June 9, 2022, the company has received a positive response for the severance pakage. With many of the employees having ongoing queries about the severance offer and requesting more time for giving consent, the company has decided to extend the last date for submission of the form to 5 pm on June 18, Saturday.
Ford India had set the deadline for June 14 for workers to accept a ‘non-negotiable’ severance package it had offered while indicating the possibility of legal action against workers from June 14 (Tuesday) had warned of early closure of the unit, before completing remaining export volume production.
Around 2,000 employees at the Chennai plant were on a strike for almost two weeks seeking a better package from the company, after the Sanand unit was taken over by the Tatas.
Subsequently, the Ford management proposed a compensation package under which the workers were offered 115 days of gross wages for each completed year of service. The company had claimed that the package will be significantly higher than the statutory severance package or 15 days of wages for each completed year of service.
The package offer includes an ex-gratia amount equivalent to 87 days of last drawn gross wages (May 2022) and a fixed amount `50,000, both being for every completed year of service. In addition, benefits equivalent to a lump sum amount of `2,40,000 and continuation of current medical insurance until March 2024 were offered. As per the notice, the cumulative amounts for components set out will be subject to a minimum amount of `30 lakh and a maximum cap of `80 lakh.
“The above package is not negotiable, and the terms of this notice shall not be construed as forming part of any service conditions. If employees do not opt for the severance package, the company will be forced to take legal steps/proceedings,” the notice had said.