With the impasse at Toyota Kirloskar Motor entering its second week, the carmaker's employees union on Wednesday began a hunger strike demanding action by the Karnataka government on their complaints. The employees also pressed the management to allow them to join work unconditionally.
A group of 10 workers, led by Toyota Kirloskar Motor Employees Union president Prasanna Kumar C S, are participating in the indefinite hunger strike outside the Japanese carmaker's two plants at Bidadi near Bangalore, said Satish Kumar, general secretary of the union. According to the union, its 4,200 members have not joined work yet.
“We had made two complaints last week. The government should intervene and action should be taken,” said Satish Kumar. “It is a completely peaceful hunger strike,” he added.
The union had lodged separate complaints with the Apprenticeship board and the Karnataka Labour Commissioner alleging the management was running the plants using contract employees and apprentices while keeping permanent workers out. The company has, however, denied the allegations, saying it was running limited operations with the help of non-unionised workers, a majority of whom were supervisors and engineers.
Toyota’s sales in March declined 57% year-on-year to 9,160 units. The company, which markets the Etios, Fortuner, Innova, Corolla Altis and Camry models, said it sold 8,206 units in the domestic market last month compared to 19,452 units in March 2013. It also exported 954 units of the Etios series last month.