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Hyundai workers strike again; loss at Rs 65 cr

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

Hyundai Motor India today said production at the Sriperumbudur plant was stopped, causing a loss of about Rs 65 crore, after workers went on a flash strike demanding reinstatement of workers dismissed last year.

"As a result of the 'sit-in strike' by around 150 workers the management is forced to suspend production today resulting in a loss of around Rs 65 crore," the company said in a statement.

Hyundai Motor India Employees Union (HMIEU) Vice President Thangapandiyan, however, claimed that production at the plant was stopped as "nearly 1,500 workers are on strike asking for reinstatement of dismissed colleagues".

Hyundai Motor India termed the strike as illegal and it will not give in to the workers' demands.

Hyundai said union is demanding to reinstate 67 workers, who were dismissed for "gross misconduct leading to damage of company property and violence against fellow workers".

"The management has decided not to reinstate any more of the dismissed employees," a company spokesperson said.

Hyundai employs about 10,000 workers at its plant, which has a production capacity of around 50,000 units per month.

Last July, the management and striking workers signed a wage settlement agreement -- following which 20 of the 87 dismissed workers were reinstated. The company gave a pay increase of 21-24 per cent over a three-year period to the workers.

"As per the agreement, this strike and demand for the reinstatement of the rest is illegal. We hope the state government intervenes to ensure a solution to this matter," the spokesperson added.

Hyundai said it had already reinstated 20 of the 87 persons dismissed in December last on "humanitarian grounds", based on  negotiations held in the presence of the state government, and an agreement was reached in this regard.

Currently, conciliation pertaining to labour issues are pending before the Deputy Commissioner of Labour and the next date for meeting is tomorrow, the firm said.

"HMIEU has initiated this sit-in-strike even before the conciliation proceedings are over," it said, adding the strike is in violation of judicial magistrate's orders, which prohibits "any unlawful activity within the factory and within 100 meters radius of the factory premises".

The latest strike is the third instance of worker unrest in the plant within a year.

The union had gone on strike from April 20 to May 7, 2009, demanding recognition and denouncing the dismissal of 80 employees. The strike ended after a meeting was called by the state labour commissioner on May 17, 2009.

However, this strike was followed by another in July last year.

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First Published: Mon, June 07 2010. 20:16 IST