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M&M may move production of key models out of Nashik

May 16, 2009 02:37 IST
The deadlock between Mahindra & Mahindra and over 4,400 workers at the company's Nashik plant hardened on Friday, with the union saying it was appointing a lawyer to appeal to the Bombay High Court against an industrial court-imposed 48-hour deadline for workers to return to work. The deadline ended today.

In response, the M&M management, which has taken a production hit of over 4,500 vehicles owing to the nine-day strike, is looking at shifting the production of some of its key models like the Xylo, Scorpio, Bolero and the Logan (jointly produced with Renault) to its plants in Zaheerabad near Hyderabad or Kandivali in the suburbs of Mumbai.

"Every organisation will have an alternate plan and so do we. We will decide at what stage we will do it," said Rajesh Jejurikar, chief of operations, M&M.

On Wednesday, the Nashik industrial court had declared the tool-down strike illegal and unjustified, and set the 48-hour deadline but gave workers 20 days to appeal against the decision.

Workers at the Nashik plant struck work after the management declined to accede to their demand to reinstate Madhav Dhatrak, the union president (internal) of M&M, Nashik, who was suspended. The management said the suspension was part of corporate disciplinary action. Dhatrak confirmed that the union would approach the Bombay High Court.

As a small reprieve, however, M&M on Friday stated that it had signed a three-and-a-half-year wage agreement with the Bhartiya Kamgar Sena, which represents workmen of the company's petrol and diesel manufacturing plant at nearby Igatpuri in Maharashtra.

The company said although the supply of vehicles had been hit, there had been no impact so far on the demand side. The spurt in demand for Xylo had forced the company to doubleĀ  production of the vehicle to 135 a day. It has already lost more than 1,200 units of Xylos because of the labour strike.

Meanwhile, workers said the agitation would continue as long as the management did not meet their demand.

Swaraj Baggonkar