ERJ staff report (RD)
Gurgaon, India -- Satish Sharma, Apollo Tyres chief, India Operations, has spoken out about the lock-out at the company's manufacturing facility at Perambra (Kerala), India, which took effect on 11 June.
A 21 June statement from Sharma said:
â€œThe lockout in the Perambra plant is a result of the unreasonable stance taken by a small percentage of the workers during the Long Term Settlement or LTS negotiations. The Management initiated LTS discussions in November 2009, much before the expiry of the current settlement. A series of bilateral talks were followed by the intervention of the State Labour Department. Despite our best efforts, the trade unions resorted to an illegal 'Go Slow', forcing Management to take disciplinary action.â€
According to the statement, the LTS benefit Apollo is offering is the best in the state of Kerala, exceeding the benchmark by more than 10 percent, Sharma said.
Sharma said that Apollo has made investments to take current capacity at the Perambra facility from 308 tonnes to 340 tonnes per day. â€œAs per discussions held with the trade unions so far, together we have also agreed to recruit more people for the expansion,â€ Sharma said.
The statement goes on to claim that more than 85 percent of workers are keen to close negotiations and return to work but are â€œbeing held to ransom by a small minority.â€
â€œWe are working with everyone with an open mind and doing our best to resolve the issue at the earliest possible. The Honourable Minister of Labour in the state, along with the Government of Kerala, is actively engaged in resolving this stalemate,â€ Sharma said.
â€œApollo's total capacity in India is around 1000 metric tonnes a day, of which Perambra produces 300 tonnes. Therefore this lockout impacts our topline and some of our customers, especially in cross-ply commercial vehicle and farm tyres. All efforts are being made to meet the gap through our other plants in India,â€ Sharma concluded.
The Perambra facility has been in operation since 1977 and makes truck, light truck and agricultural tyres, all in cross-ply constructions.