The management-employees standoff over lockout at Toyota Kirloskar Motor's two plants at Bidadi near here persisted today even as the company claimed that 300 out of 4,200 unionised employees have reported back to work.
"Around 300 team members have reported back to work after signing good conduct undertaking....," TKM Vice-Chairman and Whole-Time Director Shekar Viswanathan told reporters here, even as the union continued its day-night fast for the third day.
He said there are about 1,200 supervisory staff inside the plant working in the assembly line, apprentice staff of about 800 and about 400 contract labour. "This contract labours and apprentice are within the limits authorised by labour department."
"...we have been working one shift....our production capacity right now is 50 per cent; we used to produce 700 cars a day earlier, now it is about 300 to 350."
However, rejecting company's claim, TKMEU General Secretary N Raghu said: "very few about 30 employees" had gone the first day, but they too came out the very day.
"Our fast has entered the third day today; we are all together, about 25 of us are fasting," he added.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp of Japan, had on March 16 declared a lockout, following the failure of talks between the management and the union over wage negotiation.
The union is demanding a wage hike of Rs 4,000 as against Rs 3,050 proposed by the management.
On March 24 the lockout was lifted, with employees not resuming work as they objected to signing a good conduct undertaking as demanded by the company.
Clarifying that the company does not employee contract labour on the main line, Viswanathan said, "The main line are only meant for people who have certain number of skills... contract labours are mainly used for loading, unloading operations...".
To a question, Viswanathan said 30 employees are under suspension pending enquiry.
On the step forward and why being adamant on workers signing the undertaking, he said "....this is undertaking typically issued before anybody comes into the factory particularly when we had an incidence of unacceptable nature prior to our imposing the lockout...".
"...we also have the supervisory staff whose interest we must protect by giving good working atmosphere to everyone..."
He also said company is not against any union activity, provided that the activity is lawful.
Answering a question on conciliatory meetings on the wage hike issue, Viswanathan said "...we did have a final meeting where we believe where union agreed to a final wage, we only want them to come and sign....matter stands as far as we are concerned at Rs 3,100."
Admitting that there is challenge in number of days of inventory at the dealership, TKM Senior VP, Sales & Marketing N Raja said: "With the clear understanding of dealers and customers we are handling the situation... we are micro managing to an extent ...the cars that are coming out of the plant suites customer expectations...as per the seniority of payment, cars are getting delivered."
"Certainly waiting period is going to get longer in the coming months," he added.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor on April 1 said it has reported a 56.67 per cent decline in total sales at 9,160 units in March 2014. The company had sold 21,143 units in the corresponding month of previous year.