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Not seeing improved severance package, Ford India’s Chennai workers protest

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Around 2,200 workers of Ford India Pvt Ltd’s plant near here are on protest demanding better severance package as the company has decided to shut down the plant sometime next month, said a workers’ union leader.

The workers are also dejected at being left out, as Ford India’s Gujarat plant and its workers will be taken over by Tata Motors’ subsidiary Tata Passenger Electric Mobility.

“The Tamil Nadu government should step in and secure a decent severance compensation for the Ford India workers in the state,” a workers union leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IANS.

According to the union official, production of cars at the Maraimalainagar plant is scheduled only for ten days.

Currently, the plant rolls out EcoSport for the export market.

The management is sticking to its stand on the severance compensation package and is not willing to move ahead, the official added.

In September 2021, Ford India announced its decision to wind down vehicle assembly in Gujarat’s Sanand 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.

On Monday, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility and Ford India signed an MOU with the Gujarat government for the potential acquisition of Ford India’s Sanand vehicle manufacturing facility including its land and buildings, vehicle manufacturing plant, machinery and equipment, and transfer of all eligible employees engaged vehicle manufacturing operations, subject to the signing of definitive agreements and receipt of relevant approvals.

Tata Motors said Ford India will operate its powertrain manufacturing facilities by leasing back the land and buildings of the unit from Tata Passenger Electric Mobility.

Tata Passenger Electric Mobility would invest into new machinery and equipment which is necessary to commission and make the unit ready to produce its vehicles.

With the proposed investments, it would establish an installed capacity of 300,000 units per annum, which would be scalable to more than 400,000 units.

Tata Motors already has a presence in Gujarat and Ford India’s plant is nearby.

Last October, senior officials of Tata group had met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin that fueled the speculation about the former showing interest in Ford India’s plant in the state.

Tata Group Chairman N.Chandrasekaran had a meeting with Chief Minister Stalin, Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu, and senior state government officials.

In September 2021, a Tata Motors delegation led by its Executive Director Girish Wagh had met Stalin.

However, the agenda of the two meetings was not known.

Business

Google Play introduces UPI Autopay payment in India

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Google announced on Tuesday that it is introducing UPI Autopay as a payment option for subscription-based purchases on Google Play in India.

Introduced under UPI 2.0 by NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India), UPI Autopay helps customers make recurring payments using any UPI application that supports the feature.

“With the introduction of UPI Autopay on the platform, we aim to extend the convenience of UPI to subscription-based purchases, helping many more people access helpful and delightful services – while enabling local developers to grow their subscription-based businesses on Google Play,” Saurabh Agarwal, Head of Google Play Retail & Payments Activation – India, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand said in a statement.

Moreover, UPI Autopay makes setting up subscriptions easy.

Users need to simply tap on the payment method in the cart, select “Pay with UPI,” and then approve the purchase in their supported UPI app after selecting a subscription plan to purchase.

Google Play helps consumers transact safely and seamlessly in more than 170 markets, according to the report.

Also, the platform supports over 300 local payment methods in over 60 countries, removing complexities associated with finding and integrating local payments.

UPI is one such payment option, introduced on the Play Store in India in 2019.

In India, UPI has transformed the mobile payment framework, and on Google Play as well, many people are enjoying and using apps that take advantage of UPI-based transactions, the statement added.

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Invest Karnataka 2022 paved way for Rs 9.82 lakh cr investment: CM Bommai

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Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced at the concluding ceremony of the 3-day Global Investors Meet (GIM) in Bengaluru that “investments totaling about Rs 9.82 lakh have been committed in diverse sectors in the state.” Bommai thanked the participants in the event and investors.

Addressing the gathering, the CM said, “This GIM is different from other such Investor Meets as this has been organised during challenging times and has succeeded in showing us the way forward. What Karnataka thinks today, India thinks tomorrow. We will work with the investors shoulder to shoulder to make all these investments fructify on the ground.”

Thanking all the investors and delegates who participated in the GIM 2022, Karnataka Large and Medium Industries Minister, Murugesh Nirani, said “Invest Karnataka has laid a strong foundation for the development of Karnataka in the next five years. I am happy that we have met the core objective of this GIM, which is to bring in investments in diverse sectors and create jobs, and take industries beyond Bengaluru.”

The valedictory session was also attended by Bhagwanth Khuba, Union Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy, Chemicals & Fertilizers.

Inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually on Wednesday, the event culminated on Friday with the valedictory session in which Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai re-assured investors from all across the world of sustained support by his government.

Among top industrialists, Chairman of Jindal Group, Sajjan Jindal; Vice Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd, Vikram S. Kirloskar; Chairman, Wipro, Rishad Premji; Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, Rajan Bharti Mittal; CEO, Adani Ports and SEZ, Karan Adani and MD, Sterlite Power, Pratik Agarwal shared their experience in Karnataka and expressed continued interest in the state.

The Global Investors Meet witnessed 30+ immersive sessions spread across three days. These sessions were a mix of innovative formats such as panel discussions, fireside chats, and TED-style talks.

In addition to the speaker sessions, a number of networking events, cultural performances, business exhibitions (with 300+ exhibitors), and country sessions ran parallelly across the 3 days. The country sessions were hosted by partner countries — France, Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

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Business

Unfortunately, there is no choice: Musk on Twitter layoffs

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Elon Musk on Saturday said that there is no choice other than brutally firing half of Twitter’s workforce as the company is losing over $4 million a day.

After axing nearly 3,800 employees across the globe, including in India, the new Twitter CEO said that he has given three months of severance to everyone who has been asked to go.

“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day,” Musk tweeted.

“Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50 per cent more than legally required,” he added.

Musk has laid off people across the departments at Twitter, eliminating several teams across the globe.

He also said that Twitter has seen a massive drop in revenue as activist groups are putting undue pressure on its advertisers.

“Again, to be crystal clear, Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged. In fact, we have actually seen hateful speech at times this week decline below our prior norms, contrary to what you may read in the press,” he posted.

“Twitter will not censor accurate information about anything,” said Musk.

On charging $8 for the Blue subscription service, he said: “Trash me all day, but it’ll cost $8.”

The company lost $270 million in the April-June period after revenue slipped 1 per cent to $1.18 billion, reflecting advertising industry headwinds.

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