A day after over a dozen workers on hunger strike were hospitalised following reports of deteriorating health and doctors’ advise against continuing with the indefinite fast, agitating workers at the Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) plants in Bidadi have called off the indefinite hunger strike.

Instead, they have opted for a relay hunger strike from Tuesday in the interests of the workers’ health and safety. A statement from the TKM Employees Union also alleged that on Saturday night the police “cracked down” on workers camped outside the plant, following which two workers have been hospitalised.

A section of the workers have been on hunger strike since April 3, and the agitation has been on for two full weeks following a week-long lock-out. The main point of contention here is the management’s insistence on workers signing individual “good conduct undertakings”, a document that the union continues to insist is against the spirit of collective bargaining. Further, the TKM management had, during the lockout, handed out a total of 30 suspensions (pending enquiry) which the union has opposed. The TKM statement also condemns the lack of intervention by the state government.

On Monday, several trade unions visited the plant to express solidarity with the ongoing struggle. Among those visiting were freedom fighter H. S. Doreswamy and AITYC President Anantha Subbarao.

Sources in the Labour Department said that conciliation talks were ongoing.

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