Chennai, June 7 (IANS) Production at the Hyundai Motor India plant near here has come to a halt since Sunday night after workers went on a sit-in strike, demanding reinstatement of 67 dismissed colleagues and recognition of their union. The stir caused a production-loss of 2,200 cars valued at around Rs.65 crore.
‘The sit-in strike started Sunday midnight. The management declared leave for first and second shift today (Monday). Around 1,000 workers are sitting inside the plant and another 500 are outside the plant gates,’ Hyundai Motor India Employees Union (HMIEU) vice president K. Thangapandian told IANS.
‘Many of the striking workers have not taken food since Sunday night. The management, police did not allow any food from outside,’ he said. One worker fainted and was taken to hospital Monday evening, he said.
Hyundai Motor India’s Managing Director and Chief Executive H.W. Park last month had ruled out reinstating the dismissed workers.
Thangapandian also had said that the government was yet to confer the status of ‘public utility’ on the company as agreed at the time of setting up the plant a decade ago.
According to Thangapandian, the union was about to go on strike in January when the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, a former Hyundai Motor employee, was on a state visit, but deferred it as the management then promised to consider their demands.
He said as per agreement between the union and the management entered on Jan 20, 2010 reinstatement of 67 dismissed workers will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
‘The management agreed to take back 35 dismissed workers. It also agreed that talks on according recognition to the union will be held and both the parties – union and the management – will work cordially to resolve the issues,’ Thangapandian said.
According to him, a series of talks were held last month. ‘Even a meeting was scheduled for Tuesday with the management. As the May meetings did not make any progress we decided to go on strike,’ he added.
Hyundai Motor India said conciliation pertaining to labour issues are pending before the deputy labour commissioner, Chennai, and the next date for conciliation meeting is scheduled for Tuesday before the labour commissioner.
In a statement, it said the HMIEU has initiated this ‘sit-in’ strike even before the conciliation proceedings are over.
The current strike at the Sriperumbudur plant is in violation of the orders of the district munsif-cum-judicial magistrate, Sriperumbedur, which prohibits any unlawful activity within the factory and within 100 metres radius of the factory premises.
Last year, Hyundai Motor India’s workers had gone on a six-day strike protesting the wage agreement the management negotiated with a workers committee.
Peace was brokered by Labour Minister T.M. Anbarasan and an agreement was signed between HMIEU and the management. As per the agreement, the company took back 20 of the 87 dismissed employees. It did not agree with the union’s demand to absorb the other 67 employees.