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As Indian motorcycle and scooter manufacturers scramble to cut capacity in response to rapidly declining demand — more than 1.5 million fewer bikes sold year-on-year in the nine months of 2019 to September — India’s militant trade unions have begun to fight back against the inevitable job losses.

Honda suffered a wildcat strike at its Manesar plant near Gurgeon in early November, when it began laying off contracted casual workers. About 200 of them were initially involved, provoking the factory’s workforce of about 1900 permanent employees and 2500 contract labourers to walk out.

The factory began to resume production on 25 November after Honda management pressured permanent staff to return in four batches. But picketing of the site continued.

Speaking to reporters, a union official said: “The company has now sacked the facility’s entire 2500 contractual staff and these workers are still protesting at the gates of the plant.” He added that his union was organising a rally to press for reinstatement of dismissed casuals and there would be further protest actions.