Royal Enfield workers to resume work; strike to continue at Yamaha, MSI


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Workers of Royal Enfield are expected to join regular operations on Friday morning after the Royal Enfield Employees Union, a part of Working People Trade Union Council (WPTUC), decided to call off the strike following Labour Department's intervention.


According to a union leader, Labour Department officials, including the Joint Labour Commissioner (JLC), advised the workers to resume work and assured them that their demands would be considered in ensuing meetings. 


The workers, who were on strike for four days since Monday, will report for work at 7.15 am on Friday, said  R Sampath, vice president of Royal Enfield Employees Union. He added that the department had given an advice notice to the Union.


The union had demanded that around 120 probationary employees and one permanent employee be reinstated. The union had also demanded the payment of bonus, pending since 2015, during discussions with the JLC. However, the management had not responded positively to the demand. The production in Royal Enfield's Oragadam factory was halted completely, while its facility in Vallam was operational partially, said the union. However, the company said that some of the workers had not reported for work, despite being present in the facility. 


Meanwhile, the workers in India Yamaha Motor Pvt Ltd and Myoung Shin Automotive India Pvt Ltd (MSI), a supplier of Hyundai, in the automobile manufacturing hub of Sriperumbudur, continued with their strike on Thursday even as talks between the company management, workers' unions and the labour department officials continued for the second consecutive day at Chennai. 


Around 132 workers from MSI were arrested as they marched to the Consulate General of South Korea in Chennai seeking the Korean officials' intervention in the matter. There are around 150 workers in the factory, of which 140 are part of the CITU-led Union. The strike completed 22 days as on Thursday, said S Kannan, district president, Kanchipuram, CITU. Workers in MSI have stopped work demanding recognition of their union and rights to demand fair wages. MSI, an Indian subsidiary of Korean manufacturer Myung Shin, produces chassis and doors and is a Tier 1 supplier to Hyundai. It has been operating since 2006 in Mannur Village.


At the India Yamaha Motor factory, the protesting workers came out from the factory premises on Wednesday evening, after high drama. Many workers had climbed a mobile phone tower in the factory compound in order to avoid an eviction by the police. Police officials informed workers in the evening that they were not authorised to sit in protest within the factory, as the High Court had ordered that lawful protests be held 200 meters away from the factory premises. The High Court had also said that protestors should not block vehicle movement and those who were willing to work, within the factory.


The workers are now sitting in protest almost 200 meters away from the factory and all the 750 workers are continuing the protest, said Kannan. The production in the factory continues to be affected on the seventh day of the protest in the Yamaha Motor factory, he added. 


A Soundararajan of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said that workers at the Yamaha factory were seeking the right to form an association.


Kannan had earlier said that while the factory had a capacity of around 2200 units in two shifts a day, with the skilled workers not cooperating, only around 200-300 units were being produced in a day. He also pointed out that while there were around 2,000 contract workers and trainees, who were currently working, they may not have the skills to complete the work at the pace of skilled permanent workers.