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Dunlop talks stumble — Productivity norms prove contentious

R. Balaji

Talks stalled
Union for reopening of factory.
Unit will have to restart before productivity norms can be fixed.

Chennai , Feb. 23

The Dunlop Factory Employees Union (DFEU), representing the workers at the Ambattur unit here, wants the management to restart operations before the union commits itself to new productivity norms.

The DFEU's President, Mr A. Krishnaswamy, told Business Line that the union was for reopening the factory. But it cannot commit itself to enhancing productivity without an initial assessment, as asked for by the management, after restarting the unit.

He said that the union and management arrived at a consensus on production and other issues such as bringing down employee numbers, closure of some departments not directly linked to production, outsourcing and statutory payments. The management had targeted to start themaintenance work on March 1. The deal had been presented to the DFEU general body on February 8. But in the discussions last week the management had again restarted issues of productivity norms and increasing workload.

Mr Krishnaswamy pointed out that once the factory restarts, the number of workers would be about 800-900 but the production would be maintained at levels when the workforce was over 2,100.

But the management wants to further increase the productivity and was introducing new conditions, he said.

The DFEU was of the opinion that the unit would have to restart first and after a year look at revising productivity norms.

The existing agreement that is envisaged includes a 20 per cent cut in salary, a voluntary retirement scheme for 300 workers and closing down departments not directly linked to manufacturing and marketing.

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