Agitating Hyundai Motor workers arrested

Chennai, June 8 (IANS) Over 280 Hyundai Motors India workers staging a sit-in protest at the car plant were arrested Tuesday, even as talks between the company’s management and the employees union were on at the labour commissioner’s office, a union official said.

Police took a total of 282 workers in custody.

‘Police came inside the plant and took into custody those workers who were on sit-in strike and housed them in two different places. Later another batch of workers, who tried to enter the plant during the second shift, were also arrested,’ K. Thangapandian, vice president of Hyundai Motor India Employee Union (HMIEU), told IANS.

Confirming the arrests, a police official told IANS: ‘We arrested 196 striking workers from the plant in the afternoon and another 86 workers later.’

Production at Hyundai Motor India came to a halt since Sunday night after workers went on sit-in strike demanding reinstatement of all the 67 dismissed workers and according recognition to the union.

According to Hyundai Motor India, the possibility of resuming production will be looked at as the company is losing over 2,000 cars a day valued at Rs.65 crore.

‘Hyundai Motor India will use the office of the labour commissioner and other government officials to resolve this issue,’ the company said in a statement.

Union officials told IANS that permanent workers will not work and the company may roll out the cars with the help of apprentices and trainees which is illegal and would also risk the car quality.

He said the factory has around 1,650 permanent workers, 2,000 causal labourers, 1,500 apprentices, 1,000 Hyundai trade apprentices and 1,200 technical trainees.

Speaking about the proceedings at the conciliation meeting, Thangapandian said the company officials reiterated their current stand and said that they would come with an update Wednesday.

‘The labour commissioner requested us to wait till Wednesday and not to precipitate the matter. Citing the police action, we said it is the management and the police who are precipitating the issue,’ Thangapandian said.

‘All we demand is that the company implement the recommendations of the three member review committee of constituted by the labour commissioner. The question is can a company defy the government’s order,’ HMIEU general secretary Y.S. Chinnaraja told IANS.

The review committee had recommended reinstatement of 33 of the 67 dismissed workers. However, the company has only taken back 20.

However, Hyundai Motor India’s managing director and chief executive H.W. Park last month had ruled out reinstating the dismissed workers on humanitarian grounds.

Citing the one time settlement offered by the company to dismissed workers, he said there are other humanitarian ways.

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