Toyota staffers stay away, refuse to sign undertaking

Written by fe Bureau | Bangalore | Updated: Mar 25 2014, 06:16am hrs
Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) on Monday lifted the week-long lockout at its two factories near Bangalore but the Japanese carmaker's labour woes are far from over.

The 4,200-strong employees' union did not join work, alleging that its members were not allowed to enter the factories as they refused to sign an individual undertaking.

The union members told reporters at a press conference that the factories were operated using contract workers and apprentices.

We will keep our shifts running and the plants will be open for team members to join duty on the condition that they

sign the simple good conduct undertaking. The company will welcome any steps that the government of Karnataka

can take to resolve the matter at the earliest, said a statement from TKM.

No worker who is a union member could go to work because they restricted us from entering the factory, Prasanna Kumar CS, president of the employees' union, told reporters, adding that a memorandum has been submitted to the Karnataka labour secretary and that they will approach the chief minister.

The employees union had on Saturday resolved not to sign the good conduct undertaking which the management had set as a condition for lifting the lockout.

Their primary objection is that the undertaking requires them to agree to the reasons cited including delay tactics and threatening of supervisors for issuing the lock-out notice on March 16.

We are being forced to take responsibility for something we have not done. They had declared a lockout in order to deviate the focus from our demands, Kumar said.

Besides, the union is also asking for the suspension of 30 members to be lifted.

Toyota had declared a lockout on March 16 on the grounds that some employees were disrupting production after protracted wage negotiations between the management and employees' union proved inconclusive.

We are open to discussions to resolve the issues over

the charter of demands, Kumar said.

The employees' union has been demanding an increment of R4,000, which is on a par with the raise given last fiscal, but the management has offered R3,050 citing a challenging business environment.