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Thursday, March 11, 2010

4,000 Bosch employees go on strike; losses Rs 1,000 cr

Bosch management today threatened its striking employees that it may declare lockout at its main component factory in Bangalore also, if the workers don’t restore normalcy.The company has already declared lock out at its other plant in Naganathapura, on the outskirts of Bangalore with effect from March 9.

Nearly 3,000 employees at the company's main plant in Bangalore are also on go-slow strike in addition to the 1,000 employees at another plant which has been locked out during the past two days.As a result of the strike at both the units, the company witnessed a 40 per cent drop in production and the losses have crossed the Rs 120 crore-mark so far.

“The company is constrained to consider a lockout even at our Bangalore plant. We have given a notice in the form of information to our employees. If certain conditions are not met and the normalcy is not restored, we will declare lock out any time,” Soumitra Bhattacharya, senior vice president, Bosch Limited said at a press conference and declined to take any questions.

The workers at both Naganathapura and Bangalore plants of Bosch had launched a go-slow strike from February 12, 2010, demanding a Rs 15,000 hike in their salaries per month and medical facilities among others.“In addition to our losses, the automobile industry has lost close to Rs 1,000 crore in combined turnover,” he told reporters here on Thursday. Bosch has been losing a turnover of Rs 1 crore at Naganathapura and Rs 3 crore at Bangalore plant per day.

OEM (original equipment manufacturer) customers include Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Motors, Ford, Force Motors, Ashok Leyland, Kirloskar, Hyundai, TVS among others that are dependent on supply from Bosch. The company’s after market in India and abroad and exports are also affected due to the strike at Naganathapura and Bangalore plants. The company currently exports about 15 per cent of its total turnover.

The company’s both the plants at Bangalore contribute around 55 per cent of the company’s total turnover.Bosch reported 4.3 per cent rise in its net sales at Rs 4,822 crore for the year ended December 2009 compared to the previous year.

He said the company was willing to lift the lockout at Naganathapura, provided the employees restore normal production levels and agree to the terms of the management.

“Flexibility in working as per production norms which are very fair and normal demands in our opinion. The management has proposed improvement in productivity and a reasonable basket amount and not Rs 15,000 hike as demanded by the workers. This will keep the company competitive in mid and long term,” Bhattacharya said.

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