Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) has withdrawn the official lockout at the two manufacturing plants in Bidadi, Karnataka. The Bengaluru-based carmaker started the second shift at both the plants from today.
Toyota, however, refused to revoke the suspension pending enquiry of 66 unionized employees it accuses of ‘serious misconducts’. “Employees returning to work will sign a simple undertaking for good conduct and report to work”, said TKM in a statement.
The TKM plants, which have a worker strength of 6,500, have an installed capacity of 310,000 units per year. The KTM Union claimed to have a backing of 3,500 workers.
“In view of a recent meeting held between Ashwathnarayan, Honourable Deputy Chief Minister, Government of Karnataka with the TKM management and having observed a gradual improvement in safety situation, we have decided to withdraw the lock-out, without any compromise to discipline and productivity,” the TKM statement added.
The two plants were in a partial lockout state since November 23. TKM employed only a fraction of workers total strength to man the entire production process. The lockout which first started in the early part of November was a result of a tool-down strike called by the TKM employee union, which the TKM management had called illegal.
Following orders from the state government, TKM lifted the lockout on November 19 - which was enforced on November 10. But, four days later, lockout resumed after members of the union allegedly prevented workers from resuming duty.
On December 4, TKM began running the plants with limited capacity. The TKM management had earlier reasoned that a minimum of 90 percent of the workforce was required to plant operations smoothly failing which it was forced to go ahead with the lockout.
The strike coincided with the launch of two crucial product launches by Toyota over the last few weeks, both of which were manufactured at the two plants. The updated Innova Crysta and the facelifted Fortuner were launched by Toyota in December and January. The Innova Crysta makes up 36 percent of TKM’s monthly sales.
The Yaris and Camry Hybrid are the other models manufactured by Toyota in India. Vellfire, a premium multi-seater, is a fully imported model. These three models and the Fortuner account for about 15 percent of TKM’s India sales.
About 49-50 percent of its India volumes comprising Toyota Glanza and Toyota Urban Cruiser is supplied to it by Suzuki Motor Corporation and Maruti Suzuki India from their Gujarat and Haryana-based plants.