General Motors’ employee union sues global CEO Mary Barra: Report
The employee union of the General Motors’ Talegaon plant has sued the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) Mary Barra, senior vice president and president Shilpan Amin and several other senior officials in a contempt of court case, a report in the Economic Times (ET) said.
The company has failed to pay the 1,086 workers it laid off in 2017 while exiting the Indian market. The local court had ordered the company to pay 50 per cent of the salary to these employees from April 2022.
The company owes nearly Rs 25 crore to these retrenched employees.
The company has been unable to sell the factory units even two years after the last car was made at the plant. Its deal with China’s Great Wall Motors collapsed in 2021.
GM stopped vehicle production at the Talegaon plant in 2020. Tata Motors, M&M and Hyundai have visited the site, according to reports. “GM’s Talegaon unit is suitable for making small cars, and would need some investments to ready it to make larger SUVs. Therefore, buyers would not be keen to take on a unionised labour force,” an industry observer told Business Standard earlier.
China’s Great Wall Motors had signed a term sheet to acquire the plant, which lapsed in June last year, on account of geopolitical problems. Following the fatal confrontation between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh in 2020, the Union government announced stricture scrutiny of Chinese investments. The proposal was stuck for two years before GWM dropped its plans for the Indian market.
Along with Barra and Amin, the union has also sued Asif Khatri, VP and whole-time director, Ritu Pandey Chatterjee, HR director and Prajot Gaonkar, HR head/plant director, General Motors India.
The company spokesperson said that it is looking for options to sell the plant. “Employees have been legally separated nd we remain very confident of our legal position,” they said, as reported by ET.
The company has also challenged the court’s order in the Supreme Court after the Bombay High Court ruled in the favour of the employees. The apex court has asked the lower court to conclude the legal tussle by January 2023.
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