Auto components industry now a public utility service

Labour unions in the auto component industry can’t go on strike without prior notice. Recently, the Tamil Nadu government declared the industry a public utility service under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, for a period six months.

According to the government order dated June 14, 2019, issued by the State Labour and Employment Department, the Governor was satisfied that public interest required that the auto components manufacturing industry be declared as public utility. It will come into effect after it gets notified in the gazette.

The objective was to boost investor confidence, especially in the manufacturing sector in Tamil Nadu, said a senior official. This would also ensure that managements do not declare a lockout.

The moves come in the backdrop of widespread protests in the Sriperumbudur-Oragadam belt in the last year.

“In the recent past, there has been a tendency of trade unions to indulge in sudden strikes. The notification of the State government would prevent strike in the Sriperumbudur automobile hub. It will ensure industrial peace in the automobile belt and make trade unions understand the responsibility and ensure that they mediate and settle the issue amicably,” said S. Ravindaran, a senior advocate.

While the industry has welcomed the move, unions are upset. “This will encourage component-makers to invest more in the State and take advantage of the great eco-system that exists,” said Ram Venkataramani, president, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India.

S. Kannan, president, CITU, Kancheepuram district, said the automobile industry was already declared a public utility service. Now, it has been extended to auto components industry. “We will consult with the leaders and oppose the move. This means delayed justice for labour grievances,” he said.

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