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Karnataka hopeful of resolving Tata Marcopolo union dispute through talks

The Karnataka labour department is holding conciliatory talks with an external union of Tata Marcopolo, its employees and the management to lift the lockout of the Dharwad vehicle factory, the biggest industrial unit in North Karnataka.

The unit of Tata Marcopolo, a joint venture of India's largest auto maker Tata Motors and Marcopolo, which produces buses and small trucks has been shut since February 6 after the management feared damages to property due to striking workers.

"Conciliation is the only way to go. It will be resolved with mutual agreements," Karnataka additional chief secretary (labour) P B Ramamurthy said in an interview. He did not set a deadline for the resolution.

"Krantikari Kamgar Union," an external union not affiliated to Tata Marcopolo has sought reinstatement of few workers dismissed due to disciplinary issues. The union held a massive rally in Hubbali-Dharwad last month seeking local support for their cause.

Tata Marcopolo Employees Union, which is affiliated to the company is opposed to the strike.

Karnataka, Ramamurthy said, has resolved disputes with workers union in Toyota and Bosch over the last 18 months through talks.

Last week, Tata Marcopolo expressed that the firm was hopeful of commencing production of buses and trucks once it finds a solution to the labour crisis at its Dharwad unit.

"The self-proclaimed office bearers of the "KrantikariKamgar Union" an outfit not recognized by the company on technical and legal grounds insisted on participating and eventually prevented any meaningful dialogue taking place. We have reiterated our commitment to our operations here in Dharwad, as well as to the well-being and safety of our employees," Tata Motors said in a statement. "We also remain committed to finding a long-term and fair solution to the current situation, without any compromise on discipline, safety, productivity and quality."

Tata Motors said that the government and administration officials were supportive to the company's concerns and are helping to resolve the issue.

"We remain hopeful that a solution may be found soon, that will allow us to go back to production," it said.