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Toyota Strike : Govt. asks Local Admin to ensure that willing workers are not prevented from going to work

BENGALURU,10, December,2020: Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar on Tuesday directed the Ramanagara district administration to take stern action against persons preventing workers of the Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) from entering the factory.

The chief secretary issued the direction at a meeting of senior officials he had convened in Bengaluru after chief minister BS Yediyurappa fully backed the TKM management’s stand with rest to the month long workers strike. The factory is located at Bidadi, about 40 km from Bengaluru.

The government has told the district administration to do everything necessary to ensure the company returns to its normal operations at the earliest.

The government has prohibited the TKM Workers Union from making provocative speeches or threatening or preventing workers from entering the factory premises.

Deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan, who is in-charge of Ramanagar district, Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar and Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar were also supportive of the TKM management.

The strike, which began after the management suspended one employee for indiscipline, has now resulted in the suspension of 60 employees in 30 days. The management is firm that they all should face inquiry for breaking the company’s code of discipline. The management, however, is on record that independent presiding officers will hold the inquiry, and the suspended employees will get subsistence allowance during their period of suspension.

There are about 3500 shopfloor workers with affiliation to the workers union. After the government annulled the lockout, the company is allowing only those workers to come and work who are prepared to sign an undertaking pledging to respect the code of discipline at the workplace. Though about 700 workers have provided the undertaking, about 470 of them attended work on Tuesday. The management is hopeful the number will increase now that the government has made its stand clear.

The government moved decisively as all political parties stood by the Japanese automaker, and distanced themselves from the union.The government has also been concerned about a prolonged strike roiling its image as an investor-friendly state.

The TKM Workers Union has been on a strike seeking revocation of the suspension, and seeking redressal of a few grievances related to workload.

The auto plant has been running its factory with a skeletal staff, churning out only a limited number of vehicles. The company last week said it will need a minimum workforce of 90% in each shift to operations to run smoothly and effectively.