Deadlock at Toyota's Karnataka plant stalls production
UPDATE: Toyota to re-start shifts at the plant after employees sign good conduct undertaking
Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) and its labour union have been trying to reach a settlement on the charter of demands put forth by TKM's employees for the last ten months. The discussions between the two parties yielded no result, so the Labour Department of the Government of Karnataka intervened to help resolve the matter. However, after seven meetings involving all three institutions, an agreement couldn't be reached. Following reports of employee indiscipline, TKM stopped production at its plant in Bidadi. Npw, Toyota has said that it will start shifts at the plant once again, but only after employees sign a simple "good conduct" undertaking.
The main issue here is an increment in wages, and as is apparent, the demands proposed by the labour union do not sit very well with TKM's management. In an official statement, TKM alleges that certain employee sections, instigated by the union, have deliberately stopped the production line, and abused and threatened their supervisors for the last 25 days, after which the management decided to announce a full lockout before the situation worsened.
In its lockout notice, Toyota has stated that it is currently using less than 50 per cent of its production capacity because of sluggish demand and excess stock. Moreover, the fluctuating exchange rate has hit the company's profits hard. With all these problems at hand, the lockout is an added headache for Toyota.
Speaking to the Times of India on the lockout, Shekar Viswanathan, vice-chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) said, "The company is going through difficult times because of the rupee depreciation and the lack of volumes. Most of the workers are hard-working and well-meaning. But we can't compromise on shop floor indiscipline".
The plant, which spans an area of 432 acres, employs over 6,400 employees and has a combined output of 3.10 lakh units a year, churns out the entire Toyota range - the Etios cousins, Corolla Altis, Innova, Fortuner, Camry/Camry Hybrid are manufactured here, while the Prius, Prado and the LC200 are brought in as CBUs.