Labour unrest at MRF again, Arakonam plant locked out

May 18th, 2009 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, May 18 (IANS) City-based tyre manufacturer MRF has declared a lockout at its radial tyre factory in Arakonam near here from Sunday onwards due to labour unrest.
“The management has declared lockout at the company’s manufacturing plant situated at Arakonam in Tamil Nadu with effect from 3.00 p.m. May 17, 2009, on account of labour unrest in the factory,” the Rs.5,042-crore tyre maker said in a regulatory filing Monday.

Around 3,000 employees in Arakonam and Puducherry plants were on a sit-in strike since May 9, protesting the dismissal of around 150 workers.

Production in Arakonam has come to a halt following the strike that started against the management’s decision not to recognise a newly formed union, MRF United Workers Union (MUWU).

MRF has recognised only the MRF Arakonam Workers’ Welfare Union (AWWU).

For more than a year, the tyre major has been facing labour unrest at regular intervals across its plants in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

The labour problems first began at MRF’s Thiruvottiyur plant near here Dec 3, 2007 which led the state government to threaten the company of taking over the factory.

Subsequently, the Arakonam plant was locked out for three days from Dec 17, 2008 due to labour problems.

MRF’s Puducherry plant was also locked out Feb 22-26 this year due to the same reasons.

MRF has plants in Chennai, Arakonam, Puducherry, Kottayam (Kerala), Medak (Andhra Pradesh) and Goa.

The tyre company is now setting up a car and truck radial tyre plant in Perambulur district in Tamil Nadu, while expanding its existing capacity at Arakonam. Both projects involve an outlay of Rs.900 crore, according to officials.

The new plant will roll out 350,000 car and truck radial tyres in the first phase. The total capacity at the completion of the second phase will be 700,000 units.

Company officials were not available for comment on the labour problems.

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