The management of the Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) car manufacturing plant, located outside Bengaluru, on Tuesday announced the withdrawal of a nearly 60-day-long lockout, following protests by workers over an increase in workload and suspension of union members who had protested against the new work schedules released last November.
Despite the withdrawal of the lockout at the Bidadi factory, the Toyota Kirloskar Motor Employees Union said workers would not return since the management had neither withdrawn the condition that employees must sign a guarantee to maintain discipline to return to work nor addressed the issue of workload and suspension of workers. “In view of a recent meeting held between Dr. Ashwathnarayan, Honourable Deputy Chief Minister, Government of Karnataka with the TKM management and having observed a gradual improvement in safety situation, both inside and outside company premises, TKM Management have decided to withdraw the lockout,’’ TKM said.
The workers protest at the factory began on November 10 over a November 9 order reducing the takt time — the time taken to complete a process at the plant from 180 seconds to 150 seconds — and the suspension of a union member, according to the TKMEU.
The union, however, said the imposition of a condition that workers must sign an undertaking to return to work after the lifting of lockout “is nothing but continuation of illegal lockout”. “They may be realising that lockout is not an answer to sort out issues of industrial relations. However, they are demanding an undertaking which is nothing but continuation of illegal lockout,’’ joint secretary of internal union M N Gangadhar said.
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