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Ford India closure: Compensation talks on with workers

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A couple of rounds of talks on the compensation to be paid to the workers have been held between the representatives of Ford India Private Ltd’s workers and the management, said a worker union leader.

He said the company management wants to conclude the talks and arrive at a settlement by February 2022.

“Couple of rounds of talks have been held with the workers in Chennai. We have given our charter of demands and the management said it has to be negotiated,” the Chennai plant union official told IANS preferring anonymity.

According to him, talks with the workers in the Gujarat plant have also started.

“We have asked for compensation for completed and remaining years of service. The company is not agreeable for the same. The management has not indicated as to the compensation they are willing to pay to the workers,” the union official said.

Majority of the workers are young and have about 25 years of service remaining before they retire and the compensation calculated on that basis will be a sizeable sum, is the management’s view.

However, the parent company will be infusing funds in dollars and as per the exchange rate between dollar and the rupee the outgo for Ford India will not be much, the worker leader said.

Last September, Ford India announced its decision to wind down vehicle assembly in Sanand in Gujarat by the fourth quarter of 2021, and vehicle and engine manufacturing in Chennai by the second quarter of 2022.

Ford India has four plants in the country — vehicle and engine plants in Chennai and Sanand.

Ford’s ‘quit India’ decision will result in an uncertain future for about 5,300 employees — workers and staff, the officials said last year.

The Chennai plant has about 2,700 associates (permanent workers) and about 600 staff.

“In Sanand, the number of workers will be about 2,000,” Sanand workers’ union General Secretary Nayan Kateshiya had told IANS.

Ford India had said more than 500 employees at the Sanand engine plant, which produces engines for export, and about 100 employees supporting parts distribution and customer service, also will continue to support Ford’s business in India.

According to Ford India, about 4,000 employees are expected to be affected by its decision.

The workers at Ford India want the prospective buyer of the car plants to hire them.

Meanwhile, Ford India has declared a holiday for majority workers till January 27.

About 100-200 workers have been asked to report for work to make the spares for the aftermarket, the union leader said.

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Sacked fund manager slaps legal notice on Axis Mutual Fund

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Fund manager and Chief Dealer at Axis Mutual Fund, Viresh Joshi, who was sacked last fortnight, has served a legal notice to the company challenging what he terms as his illegal termination.

Joshi was first suspended and later relieved of his charge on May 18, as per a statement issued by the AMF on May 19, for his purported role against allegations of ‘front-running’ (or, tailgating) at the company which conducted an internal probe into the matter.

He has hired leading law firm, Mansukhlal Hiralal & Co. to challenge his termination order.

Confirming the development, lawyer Chirag M. Shah told IANS: “We are in communication with Axis Mutual Fund on behalf of our client Viresh Joshi and have duly replied to the unlawful termination notice.”

Shah added that AMF terminated Joshi unceremoniously on unsubstantiated charges of alleged ‘front-running’ and he has sent a notice to the company against the unlawful termination.

The AMF further stated that it had been conducting a suo moto internal investigation into the issue since February 2022 using a reputed external advisor to assist with the ongoing probe.

“Further to our investigation, his conduct and following the decision to suspend him, the employment of Mr. Viresh Joshi has been terminated with effect from May 18, 2022,” said the company.

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Reliance subsidiary SankhyaSutra unveils ‘make in India’ software at Drone fest

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Bengaluru-based subsidiary of Jio Platforms, SankhyaSutra Labs, which makes high-fidelity multi-physics and aerodynamics simulation software, on Friday showcased its products and solutions at the ‘Drone Festival of India 2022’.

According to the company, achieving accurate simulation of turbulent flows often required in aerospace and defence designing is a challenging task due to the involvement of multiple scales of swirling motions, also known as vortices.

SankhyaSutra Labs said it develops next-generation high-fidelity CFD tools that do not use approximate turbulence models.

“When we speak about self-reliance in defence, we often tend to focus on the ability to manufacture various hardware components indigenously,” Dr Sunil Sherlekar, CEO at SankhyaSutra Labs, said in a statement.

“This journey towards self-reliance would be incomplete without indigenous design tools, which are the key enablers of this journey. At SankhyaSutra, we are developing deep technology for India and the world,” he added.

Incubated in 2015, SankhyaSutra Labs has its R&D centre in Bengaluru with target customers across the globe.

The company has planned a major product launch in October this year.

“Accurate and reliable simulations can potentially reduce the need for expensive and time-consuming experiments, such as wind tunnel experiments, which are used in the designing of aircrafts,” said Dr Vinay Kariwala, VP Business Development at SankhyaSutra Labs.

Reliance Industries Ltd had acquired an 83 per cent stake in SankhyaSutra Labs in 2019, with an investment of Rs 216 crore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the two-day ‘Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022’ in the capital.

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India Cements to monetise land, increase price by Rs 55 per bag

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Cement major India Cements Ltd will monetise some of its land to settle its debt and for capital expenditure, said a top company official.

He also said, in order to recover production costs that went up owing to drastic increase in coal prices, the company will be increasing the cement prices by Rs 55 per bag in three phases between June and July.

Speaking to reporters here on Friday N. Srinivasan, Vice Chairman and Managing Director said the company would monetise surplus land for repayment of loan and for some capital expenditure.

“We are not in distress sale mode. We have about 26,000 acres of land in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The lands are of different categories,” Srinivasan said.

According to him, the company has to repay about Rs 500 crore of its debt and to that extent land monetisation would happen.

India Cements total debt at the end of last fiscal was about Rs 3,000 crore.

The capital expenditure is not much except for some balancing equipment and waste recovery plant in Chilamkur in Andhra Pradesh.

Srinivasan said the company would increase the cement prices by Rs 55 per bag in three parts — Rs 20 on June 1, Rs 15 on June 15 and Rs 20 on July 1.

He said the company’s products are already premium priced.

According to Srinivasan, the consumer has a choice as cement bags are now available in the price points ranging between Rs 320-450.

When queried that other cement players had expressed their plans to reduce their selling prices Srinivasan remarked: “Don’t compare. All costs have gone up. If I don’t increase the prices, I will runup huge losses.”

With a slow recovery in the southern markets further affected by record rains and floods in the previous quarter, the selling price of cement was under constant pressure resulting in uncompensated increase in the cost of production.

This was further compounded by the reduction in volume as the company as a prudent policy withdrew from the far off markets to focus on home markets.

Meanwhile, the company closed last fiscal with a total income of Rs 4,729.83 crore (FY21 Rs 4,460.12 crore) and a net profit of Rs 38.98 crore down from Rs 222.04 crore logged in FY21.

The company Board has recommended a dividend of Re.1 per share of Rs.10 each.

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