No End in Sight to Toyota-Union Tussle - The New Indian Express

No End in Sight to Toyota-Union Tussle

Published: 05th April 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 05th April 2014 01:20 AM

The strife between permanent workers and the management continues with both parties making claims and counterclaims against each other.

While the management announced on Friday that more than 300 permanent workers of Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) have rejoined work after signing the ‘undertaking of good conduct’ , employees said that only 30-40 members had rejoined and were not even regular to work.

The ‘undertaking’, among other issues has been the bone of contention between striking permanent employees and the management at TKM.

TKM employee union clarified that there were 80-90 trainees who were not members of the Union had joined work. The 4,200 strong TKM Employees Union (TKMEU) have been striking against the company over wage hikes, suspension of 30 workers among other issues. The union has now gone on a hunger strike.

Shekar Viswanathan, Vice Chairman of TKM said that in a meeting held around 15 days ago, the company decided to increase the hike from Rs 3,050 to Rs 3,100, which according to the management was accepted by the employees. “We are not aware of any such meeting and we have not agreed to anything,” Satish, General Secretary of the TKMEU told Express.

The Japanese automobile maker declared a lockout on March 16 2014 but later but later lifted the lockout on March 24 2014, after subsequent rounds of meetings with the Karnataka labour department and employees, on condition that every employee must sign the undertaking; a demand rejected by the union.

TKM is making do with supervisory staff and others to operate at least one shift. N Raja, Senior VP (sales & marketing) said that they were down to 50% production from 700 units (average before tensions started) to around 300-350 cars.

Union members had alleged that the company was using contract workers and apprentices on production lines which was illegal. A claim rejected by the company. Viswanathan said that there were 1200 supervisor, 400 contract workers and 800 apprentices.

“We do not and cannot use contract workers in production lines,” he clarified and added that only skilled workers could perform the job. 

The company continues to suffer due to the impasse as TKM registered a de-growth of 56.6% in March sales at 9,160 units. Raja admitted that the waiting period for customers will go up with each passing day of the strike.

Typically the waiting period for a TKM product is 30-45 days, he said.

The developments further dampening consumer sentiments leading to dismal performances by big car makers in Fy14.

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