Tata Motors' Dharwad unit lockout continues

The state government’s labour department postponed the talks it is brokering between Tata Motors and its striking workers, after negotiation failed to lift a lockout of the company's bus manufacturing facility in Dharwad.

Tata declined to entertain a plea by  an "external union", the Trade Union Centre of India (Karnataka Krantikari Kamagara Union) to take back workers who'd been dismissed on charges of disrupting work at the factory last month. "The union and the company maintained their respective stands. They did not want to compromise," said a labour department official, who did not want to be named.

Tata Motors had declared a lockout on Saturday at the factory, where buses are made under the Marcopolo brand. The strike was in the wake of a demand for more pay.

“It is unfortunate that discussions failed. We are concerned on how long this would continue,” said Abhishek Desai, president, Tata Motors Marcopolo Workers Association. He said the government asked the striking union to dilute its stand, in the interest of workers in the region.

The plant, the largest in north Karnataka, produces 60 buses a day for both local markets and abroad, such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It employs 4,500 workers and nearly 5,000 more work in ancillary units that provide components.

In April last year, the unit had faced a similar situation but the issue was resolved.

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