Toyota Kirloskar suspends 39 union members as lockout at Bidadi facility continues


New Delhi: Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) on Friday said it has suspended 39 union members at its Bidadi plant in Karnataka for involvement in acts of misconduct and in line with the company’s disciplinary rules even as the facility remained closed for the fourth consecutive day. The company had declared a lockout at its two plants in Bidadi in Karnataka on November 10 following workers’ union members resorting to a sit in strike at the factory premises to protest against the suspension of a worker.

“Today being the fourth day since the declaration of the lockout, the union and the members have continued to strike by sitting outside the company premises and indulging in slogan shouting against the management and the company,” TKM said in a statement.

In continuation to this act of indiscipline and violation of company rules, TKM has identified 39 such members who were involved in acts of misconduct and in line with the company’s disciplinary rules, decided to place them under ‘Suspension Pending Enquiry’, it added.

Nevertheless, as per extant service rules and keeping in mind the principles of natural justice, all possible opportunities will be provided to these employees during the inquiry process to prove their innocence, the automaker said.

Communication and dialogue with relevant stakeholders, including a conciliation meeting between TKM management and the employees union are ongoing so as to be able to restore normalcy in its plant, under an atmosphere of safety, at the earliest, it added.

TKM’s Bidadi facility has two production plants with a total installed capacity of 3.10 lakh units per annum.

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The company said it is deeply committed to the wellbeing of all its stakeholders, including its employees.

As a people-centric company, the automaker has been at the forefront of providing a conducive working environment, including competitive compensation packages, as well as unique welfare measures above the statutory requirements, to improve the quality of life of its workforce, it said.

“We also provide all unionised employees various platforms to participate in global events and competitions thus creating continuous learning and development opportunities,” TKM said.

Even in the current challenging business conditions due to COVID-19 pandemic, the company has been relentlessly working to sustain plant operations and protect the interest of its employees, it added.

“However, despite its numerous and continuous efforts to maintain a cordial and healthy working environment, TKM had to declare a lock-out at both its plants in Bidadi as a result of an illegal sit-in strike as called upon by the TKM Workers Union and its members, the maker of Innova Crysta and Fortuner said. The strike was called upon protesting the suspension of one of the employees who has had a systematic record of misconduct and was again involved in the breach of discipline and unacceptable behaviour within the factory premises, the automaker said.

“As a part of the sit-in strike, the team members were unlawfully staying in the company premises and compromising COVID-19 guidelines, thereby leading to a potentially volatile situation at the factory. This led TKM authorities to declare a lock-out for unionised employees at its plant bearing in mind the safety and well-being of its employees,” it added.

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