Japanese car maker Toyota may be hopeful that its two manufacturing facilities in Bidadi, Karnataka can now start normal production. The state government, yesterday, had directed Toyota’s workers to resume work Monday onwards, failing which the company is authorised to employ new staff.
"The Govt of Karnataka, in order to maintain industrial peace and harmony, has issued an order asking the company and the union to restore normalcy in operations, immediately," a statement from Toyota said. "All relevant issues between the workers and the management have been referred for adjudication," the statement added.
A senior state government labour official said that Saturday's order is a "prohibitory order" which directs Toyota Kirloskar Workers Union members to report to work. "Failing to comply means the company can go ahead and employ workers from elsewhere," the official said.
The issue dates back to March 16, when Toyota declared a lockout at its two plants in Bidadi due to failed talks with workers on wage negotiations. The lockout was lifted the same week and the company asked their workers to join from March 24. The workers were also ordered to abide by a good code of conduct and about 30 of them were suspended. The workers refused to sign the good code of conduct agreement and demanded the suspended workers be reinstated. Further round of talks failed between the company management and workers union following which the workers went on a hunger strike and it later became a relay hunger strike.
Toyota faced a production crisis and was making meagre 60-80 cars a day against an output of 550 cars a day, before the strike. The company operated its plant with 1,200 supervisory staff, 800 apprentice staff and 400 contract workers to keep production rolling.
It seems like the issue is nearing its end after the state government’s directive. There was no word from Toyota workers union on this new development though.
Will there be another twist in the tale? Will the workers resume work on Monday? All these questions will be answered in the coming week. Until then watch this space.