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Home / News / India /  Toyota shuts plant 4 days after reopening

BENGALURU: Toyota Kirloskar Motors Private Ltd (TKM) on Tuesday said it has decided to extend the lockout at its plant in Bidadi near Bengaluru, as the situation remains "volatile" over unresolved issues between workers and management.

The company said the hostile act of a few union members had led to a “lack of congenial and safe atmosphere" at the plant and it has left it with no choice but to re-institute a lock-out at its plant in Bidadi.

TKM had declared a lockout on 10 November after workers protested the suspension of an office bearer of the union. The Karnataka labour department held reconciliation meetings and ordered workers to return to their shifts from 19 November.

The company said that most workers are yet to return as they remain on "illegal strike".

“For the plant operations to run smoothly & effectively, a minimum workforce of 90% in each shift is required and in view of the current situation, it is not viable to carry on with manufacturing activity with such (a) small number of workmen reporting to work. Moreover, few members are also instigating the illegal strike and disrespecting other members who want to return to work or those who are already working and taking on additional burden caused by the strike," TKM said in a statement on Tuesday.

Car and other automobile makers in India are trying to get back on their feet after almost eight months of sluggish sales due to the covid-19 induced lockdown. The company says that it has stocks to last till the end of the month.

The extension of the lockout comes on the same day the company launched its new Innova Crysta model.

The company added that a section of the union were making ‘derogatory and provocative’ speeches, defaming the organisation and threatening officials.

“Post the withdrawal of Lock-out by TKM Management, every day around 400 to 500 union members are trying to barge into the company forcibly at unscheduled times beyond their designated shifts. Such hostile activities of these team members have created a volatile situation around the factory premises and unsafe conditions for the other employees of the company," the company added.

“This has led to a lack of congenial and safe atmosphere at the plant, and as a result of which, TKM management is left with no choice but to once again re-institute a lockout at its plant in Bidadi starting 23rd November."

The workers, who continue with their sit-down protest outside the TKM campus, say the company has denied entry to staff despite the government directing the company to resume operations.

“They have extended the lock-out citing unavailability of workers, but we have been denied entry by the company since the 19th (November)," Prasanna Kumar, the president of the TKM workers union said.

TKM said it would like to find a quick resolution to the problem but that a few members were ‘vitiating fundamentally expected behaviour’ for seeking an end to the strike. The company said it will initiate appropriate actions according to the law.

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