Lockdown impact: Atlas Cycles lays off employees on World Bicycle Day

ST Staff
Thursday, 4 June 2020

On Wednesday evening, the order to shut down the Sahibabad unit came and the notice to declare layoff was pasted at the main gate of the production site. 

Atlas Cycles shut down its manufacturing unit at Sahibabad in Ghaziabad and announced a temporary layoff of around 1000 employees. Ironically, it was on World Cycle Day that decision was announced. 

After years of losses that were amplified during the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Atlas Cycles, one of country’s oldest bike-maker, shut its operations on Wednesday.

Since 1951, the iconic cycle company has been in the manufacturing business. With a 1,200-strong workforce, the Sahibabad unit has the 
capacity to produce over 4 million cycles per annum.

On Wednesday evening, the order to shut down the Sahibabad unit came and the notice to declare layoff was pasted at the main gate of the production site. 

“Post lifting of lockdown with effect from June 1, 2020, the Sahibabad unit of the company is not in a position to resume manufacturing operations due to financial constraints. Hence, the workforce of Sahibabad unit of the company will be laid off with effect from June 3, 2020, till adequate arrangement of funds is made,” the company said in a public notice.

The workers were shocked to learn this when they reached the office, and they filed a protest about the decision. Some of them said the production of the business was good and they should have been informed earlier about the layoff. 

Mahesh Kumar, leader of worker union told reporters that nearly a thousand workers used to work in the factory.

"This notice should have been given in advance, at least a week before to the employees. We were called to duty for two days and then suddenly we found this notice pasted on the gate today. Many people will get jobless and will be forced to fend for themselves if the management goes ahead with this decision," Kumar said on Wednesday. He added that it used to produce nearly two lakh cycles in the factory per month.

The workers' union leader further alleged that the owners of the company had previously closed another factory in a similar fashion, located in another region just a year ago.

For the past several years, Atlas faced the financial problem forcing them to shut down two of its Madhya Pradesh and Haryana units. That appears to be their last unit.

Malanpur company factory in Madhya Pradesh closed in December 2014. Atlas Cycles (Haryana) said it was suspending manufacturing with immediate effect at its Sonepat unit in February 2018.

Started in 1951 by Janki Das Kapur, a man of dreams, to provide countrymen with quality bicycles at reasonable prices, Atlas was a brand to be reckoned with even before Hero and Avon was established.

Which began in 1951 with an improvised factory shed in Sonepat, the company rose over the years to establish major plants in Malanpur (MP), Sahibabad.

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