Workers at a chassis assembly line at the Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd. plant in Bidadi, Karnataka, India. (Bloomberg/Representational image)
Workers at a chassis assembly line at the Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd. plant in Bidadi, Karnataka, India. (Bloomberg/Representational image)

Bengaluru: Toyota workers' union to go on hunger strike for 14 days

The union will carry out a relay hunger strike for 14 days and if the company does not fulfil their demands, there will be a full-blown strike
By Sharan Poovanna
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 05:13 PM IST

The workers’ union of Japanese car-maker Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) on Wednesday said that they will serve a fresh strike notice to the company to fulfil at least six of their demands.

“According to rules, we will serve a strike notice and give the company 14 days’ time to fulfil our demands. We will carry out a relay hunger strike for the duration of these 14 days and if the company does not fulfil our demands, we will go in for a full-blown strike,” Gangadhar, an office bearer of the workers’ union, told Hindustan Times.

The development come a day after TKM, in a statement, claimed that the workers had withdrawn the strike after nearly four months.

The demands include payment of full wages for the lockout period from November 10, 2020 to March 1, 2021, negotiation on workload dispute with the union, withdrawal of dismissal orders, charge sheets, memos issued during the lockout period, restoration of five-day work weeks and discontinuation of contract labour from production jobs.

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The union also released a statement on Wednesday, stating that they would return to their shifts for the next two weeks (until their strike notice comes into effect) since the management has issued a clarification that they will not seek an undertaking from the workers.

“Since the workers and union were firm on not giving any undertaking and since the management issued a notice that workers report for duty without undertaking, the union has advised its members to report for duty as it was a moral victory for the union,” the union said in a statement.

TKM has been in and out of labour-related problems ever since the suspension of a workers’ union office bearer in November last year.

TKM first announced a lockout on November 10 and lifted restrictions nine days later (November 19) after reconciliation meetings with the Karnataka labour department. However, the company reimposed the lockout on November 23, citing unsafe and volatile environment at the company’s plant in Bidadi, just outside Bengaluru.

TKM again lifted the lockout on January 12 but insisted on workers signing an undertaking of safety and productivity, which became the bone of contention between the two sides.

The union maintained that the government had not mandated the signing of any undertaking.

TKM, in a statement on Tuesday, said that some members of the union had submitted an undertaking to the labour department and added that the company would not insist on any individual undertaking.

“(The) executive committee of the union had never decided to give any kind of undertaking, much less to any labour authority, nor had it authorised any office bearers to give any kind of undertaking. This was manufactured by the management to save its face,” the union said in its statement.

The lockout had triggered a political battle as the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) used the incident to target the anti-labour stand of the BSYediyurappa-led government in Karnataka.

The union has demanded the reinstatement of 66 of its members who have since been suspended or dismissed from the company.

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