Bangalore, April 4: Labour unrest in Toyota India is having an effect on car production, as most of the striking employees are refusing to return to work even 12 days after management lifted the lockout March 24.
“Our production has declined 50 percent to 350 cars from 700 cars a day, as the twin plants are operating in one shift with about 1,200 supervisors, technicians, apprentices and contract labourers,” Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd vice-chairman Satish Viswanathan told reporters here Friday.
Of the 4,200 unionised employees, only 300 of them returned to work after signing the ‘good conduct’ letter the company is insisting on the employees to resume work.
Of the 6,400 blue collar employees, 4,200 are members of the Toyota Kirloskar Motor Corporation Employees Union, while 2,200 are on contract.
With the labour unrest continuing, the company could produce only 9,160 vehicles in March as against 19,000 in February.
The Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd plants are located in the Bidadi industrial township, about 30 km from Bangalore, and have an installed capacity to produce about 310,000 units annually.
Refuting claims of the union that the ‘good conduct’ letter has clauses that prevent workers from carrying legitimate union activity and blames them for the nine-day lockout from March 15-23, he said about 30 employees were suspended for gross misconduct, threatening the supervisory and technical staff and failing to meet the production targets.
“We were forced to declare lockout after production dropped to 70 percent from 95 percent during the first fortnight of March and due to unrest caused by a section of the workers, raising safety concerns of supervisors, managerial staff and plant machinery,” said Viswanathan.
He also admitted that the parent company (Toyota Motor Corporation) in Japan was sad over the labour unrest in its India car plants.
“Reaction from Japan is one of sadness over the labour unrest in India because we have world class plants, world class workers and technicians and world class management,” Viswanathan noted.
He said the management hoped wiser counsels will prevail in the union and the rest of the employees will return to work after signing the good conduct letter.
On the indefinite fast resorted by a section of the striking workers and sit-in demonstration in front of the factory, the vice-chairman said the management was not aware of it except for seeing some banners and posters about it.
The 16-year-old joint venture rolls out a range of models, including Innova multi-utility vehicle, Camry sedan, Prius hybrid, Corolla Altis, Etios, Prado and Land Cruiser, with some of them imported as completely-built units.