The workers of Ford India Private Ltd are waiting in suspense, hoping for good news of their continued employment under a new owner, said a union official.
"The management has told us that no talks have been held with the Tata Group for sale of the two factories. However, news reports are there about the Tata Group in talks with the state government in connection with taking over of the Ford India's plants," a union leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
Ford India management had told the union that car makers like MG Motors, Maruti Suzuki, and others had earlier discussed the taking over of the plant but no talks had been held with the Tata Group, the union official said.
According to Ford India union officials, the workers are attending duty and are not interested in taking any adverse action. However, the meeting of top Tata Group officials with Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has fueled the speculation about it showing interest in acquiring the plants of Ford India.
Further, Anurag Mehrotra, who had quit as Ford India's President and Managing Director has joined Tata Motors as Vice President, International Business and Strategy, Commercial Vehicle Business Unit.
On October 6, Tata Group Chairman N.Chandrasekaran had a meeting with Chief Minister Stalin, Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu, and senior state government officials.
Late last month a Tata Motors delegation led by its Executive Director Girish Wagh had met Stalin. However, the agenda of the two meetings was not known.
"The management has asked us to start discussions on a compensation package. But we have decided to wait and see as there is time for Ford India to shut down its plants," the worker union official said.
On September 9, Ford India announced that it will 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.
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.