"The suspended employees are all members of the union. The lockout was declared more because of indiscipline than on wage hike demand though it all began with that," said Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd (TKM) on Thursday.

The company's union, however, maintained that the suspension letters were not received by the affected employees, including some working for over a decade in the 16-year old firm.

"When we learnt about the suspension at the tripartite meeting with the state deputy labour commissioner late Wednesday, we told the management to withdraw it immediately as we are ready to work and negotiate on the wage hike quantum," TKM union president Prasanna Kumar said.

Efforts of the state labour office to end the impasse did not yield result as the union and management did not budge from their respective stand.

"There was no chargesheet against them as per the State Labour Laws prior to suspension. We have sought the state government's intervention for lifting the lockout and withdrawing the suspension orders," Kumar said.

Reconciliation talks to lift the four-day lockout are likely to continue on Thursday. The Japanese global firm's Indian joint venture's plants are located at Bidadi, about 30 km from this tech city, with a capacity to rollout about 700 cars a day with an installed production of 310,000 units annually.

Of the 6,400 employees, about 4,000 of them are union members and the rest are on contract in both the factories.

The 16-year-old joint venture rolls out a range of models, including Innova multi-utility vehicle, Camry sedan, Prius hybrid, Corolla Altis, Etios, Prado and Land Cruiser, with some of them imported as completely built units.

Toyota holds 89 percent equity in the joint venture with the remaining 11 percent by Pune-based Kirloskar group.

(Agencies)

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