Bringing a temporary end to the nearly eight-month-long tussle between the management and workmen union, the High Court of Karnataka has permitted Toyota Kirloskar Auto Parts Pvt. Ltd. (TKAP), Bangalore, to dismantle and sell old machinery.

“There shall be no resistance for removal of machinery… However, if there is any serious lapse on the part of the management or breach of conditions, it is always open to the workmen to raise their legitimate demand,” the court said.

Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh passed the order on a petition filed by the TKAP.

The company had questioned the two orders, passed by a JMFC Court in Ramanagaram in December 2013 and a district court in Ramanagaram in February 2014, refusing its plea to restrain the TKAP Workmen Union, its representatives, and agents from obstructing the process of dismantling old machinery.

The company, the court said, had filed an affidavit stating that “service conditions would not be affected and their status, including their salaries and perks, would not be affected with the installation of new machinery”.

The court termed the apprehensions of the workmen premature to claim that their interests were not taken care of.

The courts in Ramanagaram had refused to interfere in the tussle between the management and the union, while terming the issue an “industrial dispute” where the civil court could not interfere. The workmen had “obstructed” the process of removal of old machinery, while claiming that selling old machinery would result in retrenchment of permanent workmen in addition to downgrading their work nature, resulting in reduction in perks and salaries.

However, while denying the allegations, the management contended it had a right to modernise the unit and the workmen were “unlawfully” obstructing the process.

The company said the demand of the workmen for an increase in wages, more than what was proposed, could not be clubbed with the issue of replacing machinery to make it look like an “industrial dispute”.

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