Logistics operations and production at Hyundai Motor India’s car plant were hit following a strike by workers of TVS Logistics Services, which handles the car manufacturer’s logistics, according to union sources.

TVS Logistics’ workers in the ‘Hyundai project’ as they are referred to, struck work today demanding a wage hike and reinstatement of workers who had been dismissed or suspended.

The workers have sought the support of the General Workers’ Union of the CITU, and Hyundai Motor India Employees Union, representing the permanent workers of Hyundai Motor, which has expressed its support.

Over 1,300 workers in TVS Logistics at the car factory handle forklift operations, production line feeding, tow truck operations, data entry and welding.

‘Illegal strike’

An official spokesperson in TVS Logistics said, “Today’s protest by a group of employees is illegal and totally unjustified.” The matter is before the Tamil Nadu Labour Department, “hence we will not be in a position to comment on the issue at this point of time.”

Production Hit

R. Sridhar, General Secretary, Hyundai Motor India Employees Union, said as key operations were hit, production has slowed down at the car plant. The Hyundai union workers have boycotted lunch and are “not co-operating” in production. The HMIEU will consider more active participation in the agitation if the issue is not resolved fast.

A statement from Hyundai Motor India said it did not suffer any production loss because of the strike at TVS Logistics. None of the permanent manpower at Hyundai was involved in any form of agitation at the plant.

Conciliation

A few hundred TVS Logistics workers gathered at the labour office at Irrungattukottai industrial estate, where the factory is located, and conciliation talks went on through the day.

Union representatives said they were carrying out operations that were integral to the production process but were being paid a maximum of Rs 6,500. They said they were demanding a wage of about Rs 10,000 to Rs 13,000.

They had made their demands on September 4, and had announced that they would go on strike in a fortnight if the demands are not discussed.

Hyundai Motor has had its apprehensions on the impact a strike in TVS Logistics would have on it.

In August, it sought an injunction from the Madras High Court to prevent CITU and TVS Logistics’ employees from demonstrating inside its factory. It said any disruption in the factory, which makes 6.3 lakh cars a year, could mean a daily production loss of over 2,100 cars involving a total turnover of Rs 63 crore.

The total investment in the facility is about Rs 9,000 crore with an annual turnover of Rs 20,000 crore.

(This article was published on October 8, 2012)
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