15 arrested while seeking reinstatement of employees dismissed four years ago

Workers belonging to the CITU-affiliated Hyundai Motor India Employees Union (HMIEU) attempted to staged a road roko on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway at Irungattukottai. Police arrested A. Soundararajan, honorary president of the HMIEU and 15 others.

The protest is part of an ongoing strike by the union that began on October 30. Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) said production at its plants in Irungattukottai continued to remain normal.

The workers’ demands included reinstatement of 27 workers dismissed by HMIL four years ago and wage-related issues in addition to the recognition of their union, HMIEU general secretary R. Sridhar had said earlier.

Police said a group of HMIL employees attempted to march towards the factory entrance under the leadership of Mr. Soundararajan. They were arrested and removed to a marriage hall.

HMIL termed the recent ‘work disruption activities’ by a section of workers illegal and in violation of the decision of the tripartite committee dated December 9, 2010 and ratified by the Labour Department. HMIL had entered into a wage agreement with the management-recognized United Union of Hyundai Employees (UUHE) last month. 1,300 of the 2,007 permanent workers of the factory were UUHE members, the company said.

Hyundai is not the only company facing labour unrest over the issue of recognition of unions as ‘outside’ organisations have been trying to gain a foothold in many multinational companies in Sriperumbudur and Maraimalai Nagar. The companies have been refusing to recognise ‘outside’ unions.

“The company is categorical that it will not recognise any other union,” HMIL said last week.

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