Toyota lifts B'lore plant lockout

Updated on Jan 21, 2006 11:16 AM IST

The Indian unit of Toyota Motor Corp on Friday lifted a two-week-old lockout at its Bangalore factory.

HT Image
HT Image
None | ByReuters, Bangalore

The Indian unit of Toyota Motor Corp on Friday lifted a two-week-old lockout at its Bangalore factory, saying it was responding to requests from striking employees who wanted to return to work.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd, the joint venture controlled by Toyota, said in a statement it would resume production on Saturday at the plant in Bidadi, on the outskirts of Bangalore.

Workers at the plant went on strike on Jan. 6 following the dismissal of three workers the previous day. Ten others were also suspended, pending investigation into acts of misconduct, including an assault on a supervisor in 2004, Toyota said.

Hundreds of workers had blocked the road to the factory two weeks ago, demanding revocation of their colleagues' dismissals. About 60 percent of the factory's 2,350 workers are part of the plant's union.

Toyota did not yield ground during its wrangling with the union, describing the strike as unjustified and illegal. Toyota also said it had initiated disciplinary action against some workers for violent incidents during the strike.

Toyota Kirloskar has invested nearly Rs 15 billion in its Bidadi plant, which started production in December 1999 and has a capacity of 60,000 units annually.

Toyota makes the Corolla car and the Innova in the plant, and sold more than 42,000 vehicles in India in 2005.

The Toyota strike and lockout added fresh fuel to a debate on prospects for Japanese investment in India.

It followed a labour dispute last July, when hundreds of striking workers at the Indian motorcycle and scooters unit of Honda Motor Co clashed violently with police near New Delhi, resulting in a production loss of at least $57 million.

Japan's ambassador had said then the incident could damage India's image in the eyes of foreign investors.

Japan is the fourth-largest investor in India, with about 250 companies in the country, having invested about $2 billion in equity since 1991.

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