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Indian auto unions prepare for technological transformation

Participants at the workshop highlighted that trade unions must be proactive in understanding complex and rapid technological changes in the production process and their implications for job security, workers’ rights and their welfare.

Georg Leutert, IndustriALL Director for Automotive and Aerospace industries said:

“It is the social responsibility of the employer, government and trade unions to make sure that no one is left behind and the workers of today are also the workers of tomorrow. Workers’ skill gaps should be assessed and training needs of every single employee must be fulfilled. Adequate resources should be deployed for training and retraining.

“Auto unions should ensure that such needs should be part of the collective bargaining process in order to influence the change in workers’ favour while contributing to build progressive industrial relations. In order to be heard, workers need to be united. Unions need to have a plan. Unions need to organize to secure our future.”

Indian auto unions can take advantage of IndustriALL’s recent innovative agreement with Groupe Renault, on quality of working life, which in many ways provide framework for using social dialogue to find solution to new issues in the world of work, added Georg.

International union representatives gave an overview of social dialogue processes and sustainable union structures in companies such as Volkswagen and Ford. The Japanese Auto Workers Union and IG Metall also shared who they work in their respective countries.

Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL South Asia regional secretary said:

“We are seriously concerned over loss of employment for thousands of automotive workers due to declining automobile production and sales across India. It is the contract workers who have suffered most. Indian auto unions should establish sustainable union structures to strengthen union power and collective bargaining processes in order to overcome the challenges faced by technological transformation and to safeguard the interest of all workers.”

Indian auto union representatives resolved to: bring more workers into unions, including women and precarious workers; take steps to regularize contract workers: create awareness over technological change and its impact; promote collective bargaining; and strengthen union power by institutionalizing networks among auto unions.

Participants of the meeting included Indian union representatives from Ashok Leyland, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Mahindra, Mercedes Benz, Skoda, Tata Motors, Volkswagen and Volvo.


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