An abrupt end to the journey of the Ambassador, the oldest face of India’s automobile sector, seems inevitable.
Weeks after a suspension-of-work notice, Hindustan Motors has now issued termination notices to a large section of the managerial staff at its Uttarpara plant.
Sources said about 250 of the 295-strong managerial staff had been issued pink slips. “They are mostly from the plant’s officer-level workforce,” said a source with direct knowledge of the matter.
“Your employment will come to an end with the expiry of your notice period, as applicable to your grade,” an official quoted the letter.
The employees, however, were promised they would get all dues applicable till May 31.
The company did not share any details about the termination notices. “Managerial restructuring has been an ongoing process through the last two-three years and continues, in an effort to optimise workflow while retaining the staff that remains critical to the continuity of operations,” said a company statement.
Apart from the managerial staff, about 2,300 workers at the plant have already been rendered jobless, following suspension of work.
Earlier, at a meeting with West Bengal labour minister Purnendu Bose, the company had said it needed time to restructure the organisation and significantly reduce its liabilities.
On May 24, the Hindustan Motors management had issued a suspension-of-work notice at its Uttarpara plant, India’s oldest automobile factory, which manufactured the iconic Ambassador cars.
“Low productivity, growing indiscipline, critical shortage of funds, lack of demand for its core product, the Ambassador, and large accumulation of liabilities” were cited by the company as reasons behind the plant’s closure.
Since work was suspended at the plant, worker unions have been on a sit-in protest.