Bangalore: The Indian unit of the world’s second largest carmaker Toyota Corp., Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd, has temporarily halted car production at its Bidadi factory, due to a strike by truckers and taxi operators in Karnataka. Work will resume on Wednesday.
The transport operators have been on strike for the last two days opposing a state rule that has made it mandatory for trucks and cabs to be fitted with devices that would restrict speed. Over 350,000 trucks, private taxis and buses went off roads protesting the increased costs speed governors, as the devices are called, would entail. Meant to restrict the speed of commercial vehicles to 60kmph on highways, the speed governors reduce the flow of fuel to the engine if the speed is exceeded.
The strike was called off Tuesday evening, after the state agreed to defer installing these devices on existing vehicles and mandate it only for newly purchased vehicles, according to transport commissioner Lakshmi Narayana.
Karnataka is the first state in the country to come up with this rule that was to come into effect from 1 January. The move follwed a directive from the Karnataka high court in a case of a person losing his son in a road mishap in 1996.
Toyota Kirloskar suspended production of Innova, the sports utility vehicle, and Corolla, the luxury car, for a day when the second shift began on Monday afternoon.
It makes around 200 vehicles a day and runs its operations on a just-in-time basis of sourcing components—a system that ensures minimal inventory in its stock.
“Our manufacturing is tied with the supply of components. It has been stopped due to the strike,” said an official at the Toyota unit, who did not wish to be named, as he was not authorized to speak to the media. “Only after normalcy resumes, we will begin work.”
Software and business process outsourcing firms in Bangalore, which employ a third of the Indian workforce engaged in information technology jobs, saw a reduction in the number of workers at late night shifts as taxi cabs that ferried them to work joined the strike. But, spokespersons at Infosys Technologies Ltd and a local unit of International Business Machines Corp. reported little or no impact at work.
24/7 Customer Pvt Ltd, a call centre firm with over 2,000 employees in Bangalore, said it has asked employees to use their own transport or pool cars. It also asked some workers to stay over night at office to minimize the impact.