India’s leading tyre manufacturer, MRF based in Chennai, recently announced that are facing a labour problem at their Kottayam facility in Kerala and have hence declared lockout. According to reports, the lockout is to take effect starting Wednesday. Union officials from the plant said that there has been no work going on since the past four days, and they estimate a loss of INR 22 crores, which they heard from their management itself.
Their Kottayam facility has a 150 metric tonnes production capacity per day. About 3,000 people are employed in this facility, out of which about 1,350 employees are permanent and 600 are casual. The rest have been hired on a contractual basis. The labour problems reportedly surfaced after the suspension of 3 permanent workers and 1 casual worker by the management.
MRF’s BMW union convenor, K.S. Rajan was quoted as saying that the casual worker was not allowed to work in his shift after he reported 15 minutes late to work. Because of this, he along with three of his members protested, following which they were all suspended.
BMS is just one among the 3 unions at MRF’s Kottayam facility. The others include the CITU or Centre of Indian Trade Unions and the Congress political party affiliated, INTUC or Indian National Trade Union Congress. According to the union workers, following discussions between the management and employees, the company reinstated the 3 permanent workers; however the casual worker was not reinstated.