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Ashok Leyland workers demand end to precarious work

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8 February, 2023Unions affiliated to the Working People Trade Union Congress (WPTUC), an IndustriALL affiliate, are protesting in three of auto manufacturer’s Ashok Leyland’s units over the company’s excessive use of contract workers and unfair labour practices.

Ashok Leyland currently employs about 10,000 contract workers, and 4,000 permanent workers. Unions affiliated to the WPTUC launched a protest on 27 January to demand that all contract workers should be made permanent workers of the company.
As interim measures, the union is demanding that the disproportionately high number of contract workers be reduced, and that their wages be raised to at least INR25,000 (US$302). In comparison, permanent workers earn in between US$785 – US$1,026. Equal facilities, like canteen access, must also be made available to non-permanent employees. Additionally, workers are demanding that the retirement age be raised to 60 years.
On 29 January, workers went on a one-day strike in protest of management’s unfair labour practices.
Ashok Leyland management has forced workers to work on Sundays without paying double pay for overtime, instead asking them to take compensatory time off on a weekday.
Along with other demands, the union is calling for a revision of the collective bargaining agreement that was signed by the previous union as it includes anti-worker clauses regarding outsourcing, wages, productivity, and leave policies.
Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL regional secretary, says:

“IndustriALL stands firmly with Ashok Leyland’s workers in their struggle against precarious employment and unfair labour practices. We call on management to immediately consider the rightful demands raised by the union.”