Toyota Employees Stay Away, Refuse to Sign Undertaking
By ENS Economic Bureau | Published: 25th March 2014 06:00 AM |
The stalemate between the management and the permanent workers (Union members) of automobile major Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) continued despite announcements to end the week-long lockout on Monday (March 24 ) by the company.
The 4200 strong union, comprising grade-8 permanent workers, has been denied entry into the factory in Bidadi by security and police personnel.
“We wanted to resume work but the company wants us to sign an undertaking before entering the premises,” Prasanna Kumar, President of the Toyota Kirloskar Motors Employees Union (TKMEU) said.
Workers tried to meet Karnataka Chief Minister to appraise him of the situation only to be conveyed a message by the latter that he will not be able to intervene due to the code of conduct. Workers maintained that they will ‘not’ sign the undertaking as signing it would amount to the union admitting to being at fault.
“We will keep our shifts running and the plants will be open for team members to join duty on the condition that they would sign the simple good conduct undertaking,” the company said in a statement.
Alleging that the management is using arm twisting techniques, the union said that this was being done to pressurise protesting workers back to work without addressing their demands. Workers said that they were willing to discuss the issue with company officials but there was no response from their side.
They maintained that the company should revoke the suspension of 30 permanent workers while the ‘charter of demands’ can be discussed after this.
“They are using contract workers, apprentices, trainees and supervisors to run at least one shift which is illegal,” Kumar said. The company has around 2000 contract workers, apprentices and trainees each and around 800 supervisors, union members said and added that these categories or workers cannot be directly involved in production of vehicles. The company can produce over 350 units per shift, union members said.
They complained of unsafe working conditions as well as deteriorating health conditions of workers due to the harsh practices of the company. “They are trying to impose Japanese work culture on us,” Kumar said. Protesting workers said that they will now meet with the labour department to try and resolve the matter as most of them would like to get back to work.