Bangalore, April 21: Toyota India unionised employees Monday called off their relay hunger strike and decided to join duty Tuesday after the Karnataka government clarified that the lockout in the twin car plants was prohibited.
“We have called off the 19-day relay hunger strike and report to duty Tuesday first shift, as unanimously decided at our general body meeting held outside the main factory gate,” Toyota Kirloskar Motor Union (TKMU) general secretary R. Satish told IANS here.
About 3,000 of the 4,200 unionised employees participated in the hour-hour long meeting.
Of the 6,400 employees 4,200 are union members while 2,200 are on contract.
The twin plants of the Toyota joint venture are located in the Bidadi industrial township, about 30km away from the city.
“As the state government clarified in its April 19 order that the lockout was not in accordance with the provisions of the law (section 10(3) of the Industrial Disputes Act), the management’s condition to sign the ‘good conduct’ letter before entering the plant does not arise,” Satish contended.
Though the management declared lockout March 16 and lifted it March 24, the unionised employees refused to enter the plants till the conditional letter was withdrawn and suspension of their 30 colleagues was revoked.
“With all issues, including wage hike and suspension being referred to the industrial tribunal for adjudication, we have agreed to return to work in the interests of all,” Satish said.
After the Lok Sabha elections in the state April 17, the state government directed the management and the union to restore normalcy in operations to maintain industrial peace and harmony in and around the city.
In view of the government order, the management has also agreed to the return of the employees without any undertaking.
“As the government ordered both the company and union to restore normalcy, it is important that both of us comply with the order and resume operations immediately,” a company official told IANS.
The suspended employees, however, will not be reporting to work till inquiry against them is completed.
“Though our demands and issues arising out of the 36-day stand-off are being referred to the tribunal, we are open to an out-of-court settlement if the management is ready,” Satish said.
The two plants have an installed capacity to produce about 310,000 units annually.
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.