Tuesday, March 18, 2014
By Kamal Swami
Wage Issue compels Toyota Motors to discontinue its production
Toyota in India alleged on Monday that a "grave threat to the safety of its management" forced it to order a shutdown of its car plants near Bangalore, the latest episode in a war of words between the unit of the Japanese company and its 4,500 workers over the course of wage negotiations. The impasse with the workers led to a loss of output of over 2,000 cars in the last 25 days, as many of the "workers stopped production lines", a senior executive of the company said.
"We were left with no other option but to declare a lockout on Sunday after some workers disrupted production lines and started abusing our line supervisors," said Shekar Vishwanathan, vice-chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, or TKM. "Tempers were fraying, and, as a measure of abundant precaution, we declared lockout," he said, declining to reveal what grave threat was posed by the workers. The management of TKM, which will meet the state labour minister on Tuesday, ruled out raising its wage increase offer of Rs 3,050 a month to its permanent workers. "Our offer is final," said Vishwanathan.
Workers Petition Former CM
He said he remains hopeful politicians "would not play to the gallery and talk the language of discipline". Disputes between workers and managements have many times spun out of control, resulting in violence and even death. In recent years, executives at Graziano Trasmissioni India, Pricol BSE 1.36 % and Regency Ceramics BSE 4.62 % have been beaten to death by enraged workers. In 2012, the general manager of human resources at Maruti Suzuki BSE 7.98 % was burnt to death at the company's Manesar plant.
"For harmonious relations, the most important issue is that the company should share its profits with all stakeholders justifiably," said Pranabesh Ray, dean of academics at Jamshedpur-based Xavier Labour Relations Institute.
Read complete story on Economic Times.