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Staff strike at Toyota's Bidadi plant may affect commitment to customers

The firm, however, denies the shutdown would hurt deliveries as of now


Samreen Ahmad  |  Bengaluru 

A Toyota logo is displayed at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, March 5, 2019. Photo: Reuters
A Toyota logo is displayed at a Motor Show. Photo: Reuters

While Kirloskar Motor (TKM) struggles with the lockout of its Bidadi plant at the outskirts of Bengaluru, it could be facing another challenge of delivering vehicles on time. The firm, however, denies the shutdown would hurt deliveries as of now.

“We would try our best to service the customer demand from vehicles in stock both at dealers and at the factory. Moreover, we are trying our best to ensure that there is no impact of this strike on our customers and stakeholders,” said a company spokesperson.

“We have prioritised the customer orders and we will plan to meet the customer demand by channelising the resources as soon as possible,” added the spokesperson.

The festive season has been bullish for the company as it has seen a rise in sales on a month-on-month basis. On a sequential basis, its sales were higher by 52 per cent from September 2020 when it sold 8,116 units. TKM reported a 1.87 per cent decline in total sales at 12,373 units in October, as compared to the same month a year ago. If the lockout continues for long, it might dent the company’s sales prospects.

The company had to shut down its Bidadi plant on Tuesday after around 1,200 employees went on strike over the suspension of a staff member who happens to be the workers’ union member. “The person comes with a track record of indiscipline behaviour and has violated company policies. Therefore he was put on suspension,” said the TKM spokesperson. An enquiry has been initiated to resolve the issue.

However, the workers’ union has said the employee in question was speaking to workers regarding their grievances inside the factory when he was placed under suspension and that the charges were made-up. The workers’ union has over 3,000 members.

“At present the TKM Union has resorted to illegal sit-in strike and those team members are unlawfully staying in the company premises and compromising the Covid-19 guidelines. Due to the current volatile atmosphere and to protect the safety of employees, Kirloskar Motor is forced to declare a “lockout” until further notice. Communication and dialogue with relevant stakeholders is ongoing to try and resolve the issue,” the company had earlier said in a statement.

Spread over 432 acres, the Bidadi plant manufactures variants such as Innova and Fortuner. It has two units with an annual production capacity of up to 310,000 vehicles. A part of Japan’s Motor Corp, it employs 6,500 people.

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First Published: Wed, November 11 2020. 19:27 IST