Foxconn workers reject VRS offer, say state nod must to suspend ops

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Chennai | Published: December 13, 2014 12:42:21 AM

The workers’ union at Foxconn India on Friday refused to accept the management’s decision...

The workers’ union at Foxconn India on Friday refused to accept the management’s decision to offer VRS or a compensation package following the decision to wind up operations at the Chennai plant. The workers argued that the operations cannot be suspended without the state government’s nod.

At a tripartite meeting including the Kancheepuram labour commissioner, it was decided to hold another round of meetings on December 17 and 18 to sort out issues. The company is preparing for operational closure effective December 24, said sources.

When contacted, Muthukumar, president, Foxconn Workers’ union, said, “The management came out with a formal VRS proposal offer for the workers (details not disclosed), numbering 1,500, including 180 technicians. But we totally rejected the proposal and asked the management to find alternate ways to continue production.”

The labour commissioner also advised the management that it should not take any decision without the state government’s approval, he added.
According to him, though the management claims that the plant can make panels and electronic parts only for basic models, it had invested in a new line sometime back. With slight modifications and new equipment, it can make various products or diversify into other electronic products, he added.

To a query, Muthukumar said, “We have been paid less compared to Nokia India workers. Our wages vary from a minimum of Rs 9,000 to Rs 16,000 even for those who have put in 9 years of service. At one point of time, we were around 8,000 people,  but have been brought down to 1,500 or less now. Till now, the factory is running three shifts and we cannot accept closure of operations here.”

When contacted, the Kancheepuram labour commissioner confirmed the meeting and said that another round of meeting will be held on December 18. He declined to give further details.

According to R Soundararajan, CITU leader and a MLA, “Foxconn has over 200,000 employees across the globe. The Foxconn India management should continue to run the plant with orders procured from its global operations. It also should not involve in shifting plant machineries from here. It should find ways, including diversifying into other areas (electronics-related) to run this plant continuously.”

On Thursday, Foxconn confirmed suspension of its India operations, FIH India, in Chennai effective December 24, 2014.

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