The standoff between the employees and the Bosch management continued for the second day on Wednesday as the workers remained locked out of the company's plant at Naganathapura near here.

The workers alleged that officers, transported in 11 buses, entered the factory at about 10.30 a.m.

Terming the move “an unfair labour practice,” Prasanna Kumar, president, MICO Karmikara Sangha, said workers feared that the officers might mishandle machinery in the plant, for which they would be blamed later.

“The officers entered the factory with police protection,” he said.

Mr. Prasanna Kumar said the move “was highly provocative” given the fact that conciliatory proceedings were scheduled to commence on Thursday in the presence of the Labour Commissioner.

“Customers affected”

Speaking to The Hindu, a Bosch official said the company “had no choice” but to enter the factory because of the drop in production at the plant, which “is affecting our customers badly.”

The official said Bosch was “legally entitled” to deploy officers on tasks normally performed by workers in the current situation.

Protest planned

Mr. Prasanna Kumar said the workers would protest before the office of the Labour Commissioner on Thursday.

He said more than 3,000 workers employed at Bosch's Audugodi facility would participate in a rally to express solidarity with the locked out workers.

Bosch's Naganathapura plant employs about 1,820 persons — 720 permanent employees, 500 contract and casual workers and 600 officers.