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Karnataka government prohibits workers' strike at Toyota Bidadi plant, asks management to lift lock-out

Karnataka government prohibits workers' strike at Toyota Bidadi plant, asks management to lift lock-out
Karnataka on Tuesday banned strike by workers of Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) at its Bidadi plant and directed the management to lift the lockout for resuming production soon.

"I have directed the Toyota workers' union to withdraw its strike and told the company management to lift the week-long lockout declared on November 10 to resume production soon," state Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan told reporters here.

As the union and its management were in a deadlock over the strike and the lockout following the suspension of 40 workers, Narayan held talks with them at the state secretariat in the city in the presence of state Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar and the state labour commissioner.

"A notification will be issued on Wednesday under section 10 (3) of the Industrial Disputes Act to ban the strike by the workers and to lift the lockout that was imposed to prevent any damage to the factory," asserted Narayan.

The lockout was declared after 1,200 workers resorted to a sit-in strike in the plant at Bidadi in protest against the suspension of their union member.

As the strike continued, the company declared lockout and suspended 39 more workers on November 13 for refusing to withdraw their 'illegal' agitation.

As the 23-year-old joint venture between the Japanese auto behemoth Toyota and Kirloskar Brothers of Pune is located in Ramanagara district, Narayan mediated to resolve the standoff as he is in-charge of the adjust district.

"At a conciliatory meeting between the union and the management at the labour commissioner office in the city in the evening, the company offered to lift the lockout subject to an assurance by the union that its member-workers will maintain normalcy and cordial relations in the factory to resume operations," said an official of the labour department.

The union, however, is yet to respond to the company's conditional offer.

Both the ministers told the TKM management to lift the lockout and resume production from Wednesday to make-up for the week-long work loss.

The company has two plants in the Bidadi industrial area with 3.1-lakh units installed capacity to roll out its popular multi-utility vehicle Innova, sports utility vehicle Fortuner, Yaris and Camry hybrid sedans.

The company has 6,500 employees on its factory rolls.

The company also imports Vellfire from its overseas plants for sale in India.

"Karnataka's work culture has enabled the industry's robust growth over the decades in the manufacturing sector. The state is known for its conducive environment for investment and growth of industries across verticals," asserted Narayan.

At a time when the government is trying to revive the economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic over the last eight months, the strike and lockout will send a wrong signal to the stakeholders," said Hebbar on the occasion.

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