Operations at the Bidadi plant of Toyota Kirloskar Motor have resumed after two months of agitation by the workers, which had forced a lockout. However, not all workers have rejoined work. Of the 3,500 strong workers’ union, only about 300 members have returned to work, while the rest continue to agitate. Employees have agreed to work in a disciplined manner at the plant, which has a total workers’ strength of 6,000. These workers have signed an undertaking promising good conduct.
The initial lockout happened on November 10, 2020 when the workers alleged increase in workload. When the Karnataka labour department intervened, requesting the workers to return to work, only 10 per cent rejoined on November 19. Unable to work with such a small number of workers, the plant was forced to extend the shutdown, as it was barely able to produce 100 units a day with a skeletal staff. Under normal circumstances, the plant would have churned out at least 450 units a day.
Now, the plant is gearing to operate two shifts to increase productivity.
While the enquiries are still on over the conduct of 66 union workers who were suspended, the plant has resumed normal working. However, the Company has made it clear that no misconduct will be tolerated and basic discipline will be expected. The workers who continue to protest, claim that their grievances have not been addressed yet.