Tata Marcopolo Motors, a joint venture between Tata Motors and Marcopolo of Brazil, will resume production of buses and small trucks from Monday, after workers committed they would not disrupt production at its Dharwad factory, biggest industrial unit in north Karnataka.
The factory has been shut since February 6 after the management said it feared damage to property following a workers' strike which the company termed 'illegal'. In talks steered by the state labour department between the management and union leaders, a deal was stuck on Saturday, with Tata Marcopolo saying it would open the factory if workers committed that they would not disrupt production and maintain quality of products.
"In view of the larger interest of all the company's stakeholders, the management of Tata Marcopolo Motors has taken a pragmatic view of the situation and decided to lift the lockout," a Tata Motors spokesperson said in an email response.
The Karnataka government has promised protection to employees who rejoin work and ensure the factory resumes production, an official said. "We have been told to sign an undertaking that we will maintain discipline, ensure quality and peaceful operation of the factory," said Abhishek Desai, president, Tata Marcopolo Workers Association.
In the legislative assembly, the opposition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party had raised the issue, accusing the government of not doing enough to maintain peaceful industrial relations in the state.
Last week, additional Chief Secretary (labour) P B Ramamurthy had said the government was keen on resolving the issue. "Conciliation is the only way to go. It will be resolved with mutual agreements," he said. A note to employees by Tata Marcopolo says that suspended employees would not be taken back to work till an inquiry was completed.
Krantikari Kamgar Union, an external union not affiliated to Tata Marcopolo, had sought reinstatement of a few workers dismissed for indiscipline. The union had also held a rally in Hubbali-Dharwad last month seeking local support for their cause. However, the union was not involved in the talks.
Tata Marcopolo Employees Union, which is affiliated to the company, is opposed to the strike.
"We strive to carry out peaceful business in a congenial environment maintaining the highest standards of safety, discipline, productivity and quality to fulfil our commitment to well-being of all the stakeholders," Tata Motors said in the response.