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Rediff.com  » Business » Toyota lockout lifted but workers refuse to sign undertaking

Toyota lockout lifted but workers refuse to sign undertaking

March 25, 2014 09:03 IST

A Toyota car.A standoff between the management and employees of Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the Indian arm of Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp, continued on Monday, though the lockout at the company’s two manufacturing units was lifted.

This was because the workers refused to sign an undertaking before joining duty.

When the workers returned to work for the 6 am shift on Monday morning, the management insisted each employee sign an undertaking, but the workers refused to do so.

“The undertaking has several conditions. They want us to accept some of the mistakes we have not committed,” said TKM Employees’ Union President Prasanna Kumar.

The union’s general secretary, R Satish, said: “They want us to abide by all the directions of the supervisors on the shop floor -- not using mobile phones inside the factory, among other things.”

TKMEU is ready to give a collective undertaking but has decided that the members will not sign individual undertakings.

The management, on the other hand, is not allowing the workers to return to work without signing undertakings, the union says.

The management is insisting each worker undertake to abide by the rules governing his work ethics and conduct, they add.

The Toyota management, which had last week suspended 17 workers for misconduct, suspended another 13 for similar reasons and initiated departmental inquiries.

Meanwhile, the company pressed contract workers and apprentices into service for production of passenger cars.

“We will keep our shifts running and the plants will be open for team members to join duty, provided they sign a simple good-conduct undertaking.

“We will welcome the steps the Karnataka government takes to resolve the issue,” Toyota Kirloskar stated.

About 500 of the 3,000 employees working in an eight-hour shift were present at the factory gate since dawn, waiting for withdrawal of the undertaking so that they could join duty.

As the standoff continued, the union decided to seek the state government’s intervention to end the deadlock.

TKMEU gave a memorandum to the labour commissioner, besides Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

“We have requested the chief minister and the labour department to intervene and issue directions to the Toyota management to lift the lockout unconditionally.

“The state government is legally empowered to direct the company on this, as it (the lockout) was illegally declared on March 16, without a 14-day notice being given,” Satish said.

Besides the company’s security guards, state police personnel have been stationed around the twin plants in Bidadi industrial township, near Bangalore, to maintain law and order.

Of the 10,000 workers employed at these factories, 4,200 are in Grade-8 and members of TKMEU.

DEADLOCK CONTINUES; EMPLOYEES’ KEY DEMANDS

  • Hike of up to Rs 8,500 a month in each worker’s pay for 2013-14
  • Lifting of lockout, unconditionally
  • Withdrawal of 30 employees’ suspension

THE MANAGEMENT’S RESPONSE

  • Hike of Rs 3,050 a month in each employee’s pay for 2013-14
  • Each worker must sign an individual undertaking before returning to work
  • Workers have been suspended for misconduct, so a departmental inquiry has been initiated

Image: When the workers returned to work for the 6 am shift on Monday morning, the management insisted each employee sign an undertaking; Photograph: Reuters

BS Reporter in Bengaluru
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