Companies

Toyota employees’ strike: Management, union still at loggerheads

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 21, 2020
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Union denies the company’s claim that 1,000 empoyees have returned to work

The impasse at the Toyota Kirloskar plant near Bengaluru continues, even with the management claiming on Monday that over 1,000 unionised workers have returned to work. The union, however, countered the claim saying that there has been no reconciliation between the striking employees and the management.

The workers’ union has also claimed that six of the 3,500 employees of the plant have been dismissed while 60 others remain suspended. The workers’ union struck work on November 9 this year protesting against alleged harassment by the management and salary reductions without notice.

But a spokesperson for Toyota Kirloskar Motor told BusinessLine that over 1,000 workers have signed an undertaking of maintaining discipline. “Those team members willing to report for duty were required to sign a simple undertaking of maintaining discipline and required productivity. As on date, about 1,000 members have signed the undertaking and we expect this number to gradually increase over the next few days. We are sure that with the support from the government and related stake holder’s normalcy will be restored very soon and there are no fresh issues,” the spokesperson said.

Toyota Kirloskar workers’ union president, Prasanna Kumar Chekkere, said the management has refused to hear their pleas for better working conditions at the plant. “The workload continues to increase and we are not even allowed to go on leave if there is an emergency situation at home,” he said. He also claimed that the management does not follow any guidelines for working conditions and has been reducing salaries without giving any reasons.

But the spokesperson said the management was confident that there will be a full resumption of work soon. “We would like to confirm the resumption of production involving supervisory and other staff and workmen who have signed the undertaking despite the continuation of the illegal strike by a group of workers.”

He, however, did not disclose the losses incurred by the company while the union president, Prasanna said that none of the workers had been paid their salaries. The average salary for the workers, according to Prasanna, was around ₹40,000 per employee.

Brutal work conditions

Union sources claimed the target for manufacturing cars was earlier set at 80,000 units per year, but it has now been increased to one lakh without any increase in either wages or manpower. Earlier, it took three minutes to assemble the multi-purpose Innova, and now the time has been reduced to 2.5 minutes, sources said. They also said that the management reduces the salary of workers by as much as three days even if the workers take a a few minutes’ break.

The spokesperson refuted these allegations. “All automobile industries work on a conveyor system. While designing the processes, scientific method of Toyota Production System (TPS) is followed. TPS is a world-renowned system which focuses on manufacturing highest quality cars so that customers get their cars within the shortest lead time,” he said.

“We always aim to make a continuous improvement so that work can be made more scientific and easier. In the process, we ensure that employees are involved, share their ideas, maximise their potential and realize self-fulfilment,” the spokesperson said

Published on December 21, 2020

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