Our members won’t sign any undertaking: TKM union

Over 3,000 people are protesting outside the company’s factory at Bidadi.  

The workers’ union of Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) on Wednesday said its 3,500 members will not sign the undertaking demanded by the management for them to be allowed to return to work.

The car maker sought an undertaking from its protesting employees that if they are allowed to enter the factory for work, they should maintain “required productivity” and also maintain “absolute discipline”, both inside and outside the factory.

“None of our members want to sign this undertaking because they feel it has no meaning especially when the lockout still continues. Even after the State government called the first lockout, introduced on November 10, a prohibition, TKM reintroduced it on November 23. This is a clear negligence of the government order,” claimed Prasanna Kumar Chekkere, president, TKM union.

According to another workers’ union office-bearer, Muralidhar, “They want us to produce about 1,00,000 cars a month, instead of 80,000 now. For this, company has arbitrarily reduced the time and increased the cycle at work thereby putting workmen under pressure.” The union is also critical of the company’s VRS scheme.

Meanwhile, G Shankara, associate vice-resident, human resources & services group, TKM, told The Hindu that Toyota requires a minimum workforce of 90% in each shift to continue production. However, only a small portion of them are reporting to work, and under this situation, TKM management was left with no choice but to reintroduce lockout on November 23, he claimed. “Toyota is known for its employee-friendly policies and good work practices. We just want our employees to follow basic discipline at work for their own good. We are very considerate and we treat our people as family. But unfortunately they ignore these,” he said.

Toyota has 3,500 people who work in production and they are unionised. It also has 2,500 officers, supervisors, and other staff and majority of them are exposed to shop floor activities including assembly line work, under Toyota’s Genchi Genbutsu philosophy.

“A few people are trying to hijack the company. As a result, our officers and supervisors, with the help of available workmen and production staff, are making cars in the last few days,” said Mr. Shankara.

Some 3,460 of the production staff can start working immediately if they are willing to sign the undertaking.

However, with regard to the remaining 40 people, including the union leader who was suspended initially and 39 others who were also suspended for causing “disruption” at work and violating factory discipline, they will go through a “process” before their career future at Toyota is decided.

Mr. Shankara added, “A neutral body, comprising industry specialists, legal experts and HR professionals, will examine the matter and take a suitable action. The body will give all possible opportunities to our employees to prove their innocence and return to work.”

Meanwhile, over 3,000 people are protesting outside the company’s factory at Bidadi demanding withdrawal of lockout and removal of these suspensions, according to the union.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 1:37:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/our-members-wont-sign-any-undertaking-tkm-union/article33179412.ece

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