By Sudarshan Varadhan and Aftab Ahmed
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s biggest automaker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (NS:), has cut the number of workers it employs on temporary contracts following a plunge in vehicle sales, it told Reuters.
The auto industry, which accounts for nearly half of India’s manufacturing output, is going through one of its worst slowdowns in nearly a decade, with vehicle sales falling rapidly and little sign of a revival anytime soon.
The company said it employed 18,845 temporary workers on average during the six months ended June 30, down 6%, or 1,181 people, from the same period last year, adding that job cuts had accelerated since April.
It is the first time the reduction has been reported. The listed company doesn’t have to disclose reductions in temporary workers.
Maruti Suzuki, majority-owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp (T:), said it had not reduced its permanent workforce — which numbered 15,892 at the end of March — over the past year but declined to say whether further reductions were planned.
It said previously that it had cut production by 10.3% in the first six months of the year.
Maruti Suzuki, which produces about one in two of the passenger vehicles sold in Asia’s third-largest economy, on Thursday reported a 33.5% decline in sales in July to 109,265 vehicles compared with July 2018.
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