More than 2,000 contractual workers of Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI) Private Limited sat on a dharna inside its Manesar plant in Sector 3 here on Tuesday — a day after 200 workers were told to proceed on a three-month leave citing economic slowdown.Around 150 police personnel were deployed inside the plant premises to prevent any law and order situation, said DCP (Manesar) Rajesh Kumar.HMSI employees’ union chief Suresh Gaur said that talks were on with the labour department and the management officials to work out a solution. “The company’s management has been illegally sacking contractual workers, asking them to go on leave for 3-4 months using slowdown as an excuse. The workers have families to support, they cannot survive without work for so long. If the management fails to find a solution, the permanent works will also join them in the protest,” said Mr. Gaur.The affected workers also staged simultaneous protest outside the plant. They claimed that around 2,000 employees had been told to go on leave over the past few months, and none of them were recalled.“It is a conspiracy to relieve the contract workers with higher wages and hire workers at lower wages. The three other plants of the company in Bangalore, Gujarat and Rajasthan are running smoothly, how come only the Manesar plant has been hit by the slowdown?,” Gulvinder, a protesting worker., demanded to know.Another worker Ajay Kumar said the workers should be suitably compensated if the company wanted to relieve them. “We must be paid one lakh rupees for each year of service offered in the company. It is difficult to get a new job at this age. Most of the workers are in their late 30s,” said Mr. Kumar.The protesters claimed that the contractual workers were given a 15-day service break every year, but this time they were being told to go on a long leave and were not being recalled. Most of the workers told to go on leave were employed for 5-10 years and worked on frame assembly.A delegation of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, led by its Haryana president Satbir Singh, met the workers and extended support to them.In a press statement, the company said that 200 contractual members, whose term had completed, were relieved based on demand fluctuations and production adjustment. It further said that necessary recruitment would be considered on the basis of future market requirements.Additional Labour Commissioner (NCR) Manish Kumar said talks were on till late in the evening and the contractual workers were still holding a peaceful dharna inside the company premises. He said the talks were held with the plant’s head through video conferencing since he was in Switzerland, but no conclusion could be reached.