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Karnataka govt intervenes in Toyota Bidadi plant impasse, bans strike by workers

However, workers’ union of the factory said that they will continue strike until humane working conditions are ensured.

The Karnataka government on Tuesday banned the ongoing strike by workers of Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) at its Bidadi plant and directed the management to lift the lockout for resuming production soon. “I have directed the Toyota workers’ union to withdraw its strike and told the company management to lift the week-long lockout declared on November 10 to resume production soon,” Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan told reporters.

As the union and its management were in a deadlock over the strike and the lockout following the suspension of 40 workers, Narayan held talks with them at the state secretariat in the city in the presence of state Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar and the state labour commissioner.

“A notification will be issued on Wednesday under section 10 (3) of the Industrial Disputes Act to ban the strike by the workers and to lift the lockout that was imposed to prevent any damage to the factory,” asserted Narayan.

The lockout was declared after 1,200 workers resorted to a sit-in strike in the plant at Bidadi in protest against the suspension of their union member.

As the strike continued, the company declared lockout and suspended 39 more workers on November 13 for refusing to withdraw their ‘illegal’ agitation.

As the 23-year-old joint venture between the Japanese auto behemoth Toyota and Kirloskar Brothers of Pune is located in Ramanagara district, Narayan mediated to resolve the standoff as he is in-charge of the adjust district.

“At a conciliatory meeting between the union and the management at the labour commissioner office in the city in the evening, the company offered to lift the lockout subject to an assurance by the union that its member-workers will maintain normalcy and cordial relations in the factory to resume operations,” said an official of the labour department.

The union, however, is yet to accept the offer.

Speaking to TNM, Basavaraj Havaldar, the Joint Secretary of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Employees Union, said, “The conciliation has failed as the management has not responded. Today if the chief secretary bans our strike, the strike will only continue against the government too. We are only going to end our strike when there is a proper meeting held between the union and the management and when we are ensured better working conditions.”

Both the ministers told the TKM management to lift the lockout and resume production from Wednesday to make-up for the week-long work loss.

The company has two plants in the Bidadi industrial area with 3.1-lakh units installed capacity to roll out its popular multi-utility vehicle Innova, sports utility vehicle Fortuner, Yaris and Camry hybrid sedans.

The company has 6,500 employees on its factory rolls.

The company also imports Vellfire from its overseas plants for sale in India.

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