The government’s decision to declare automobile industries as a ‘public utility’ under Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), 1947 for preventing ‘flash strikes’ is set to help a large number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the State in warding off labour unrest to a considerable extent.
By imposing restrictions under IDA and also invoking the provisions of A.P Essential Services Maintenance Act (APESMA), 1971 for which ‘public utility’ is a precondition, the government hopes to ensure unhindered growth of the automobile industries.
The public utility clause incorporated in the Automobile and Automobile Components Policy for 2015-20 released by Department of Industries and Commerce late last month, will give enough time to SMEs and suppliers for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to hold negotiations with employees / workers who express intention to go on strike without serving a notice.
A flash strike spells major trouble, particularly for industries supplying components to OEMs, which do not take breaching of deadlines lightly. The SMEs, most of which cater to the after-market, will be hit hard as their clients would look for alternatives.
Commenting on the new policy decision, Ch. R.K. Prasad, managing director of Vijayawada-based Kusalava International Limited, which is a major supplier to OEMs like TATA Motors and Ashok Leyland, said there would be no objection to a strike if an advance notice is served to the managements but a flash strike was undesirable as it vitiates industrial relations.
“A worker quits his job after receiving his or her salary without informing the employer and giving a reason for it. But attempts to terminate a worker will meet with stiff resistance largely due to outside interference. Industries are finding it difficult to scout for talented workforce and actions like a flash strike precipitate the crisis,” he said.
Mr. Prasad insisted that cordial relations would be possible only when both the employers and workers understand each other well giving no scope for unwarranted trade union actions. Deputy Director of Prosecutions of Government of Andhra Pradesh B. Ramakoteswara Rao said the idea was to make flash strikes illegal under IDA and fall back on APESMA as a last resort if the industrial unrest could not be contained.