India Asks Toyota, Union to Restore Factory Operations

India Asks Toyota, Union to Restore Factory Operations

BANGALORE -- An Indian state government has ordered Toyota (IW 1000/8) and its union to restore operations at its two Indian factories after a protracted pay dispute halted work, the company said.

The demand comes after unionized employees refused to return to work at two plants near the southern city of Bangalore, despite an end to an eight-day company lock out last month over the pay dispute.

Workers and the company's management have been at loggerheads over pay issues at the factories in Karnataka state, which they have been negotiating for 10 months.

"The government of Karnataka, in order to maintain industrial peace and harmony, has issued an order asking the company and the union to restore normalcy in operations, immediately," the Indian unit of the world's biggest carmaker said in a statement late Saturday.

The Bangalore complex normally produces some 310,000 cars annually, including the flagship Camry sedan, the Corolla, and the Prius hybrid, mostly for the Indian market.

The statement said all outstanding issues had been now "referred for adjudication" without elaborating further.

The company said last month it had recently started "limited production" with the help of non-unionized workers and supervisors.

The carmaker has been insisting that workers sign a good conduct pledge before returning to work, a condition that was rejected by the union.

Union workers and Karnataka government officials could not be reached on Sunday for comment.

Toyota's plant problems come in the wake of other, sometimes violent, labor disturbances at Indian car factories in recent years.

In 2012, workers at India's top carmaker by sales, Suzuki Motor's unit Maruti Suzuki India, went on a rampage, killing one executive and injuring over 100 others in a row over pay and working conditions.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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