Apollo Factory Lockout Continues After 5 Weeks
After five weeks of lock out conditions at the factory under lease to Apollo Tyres, plant management and union representatives appear to have made little or no progress in resolving their differences. A January 7 meeting conveyed by the labour minister of India’s Kerala state, PK Gurudasan, broke down when the two parties could not reach a consensus on the list of 12 items management views as essential for the factory’s ongoing viability. Union representatives agreed to consider just three, and said the remaining proposals would be discussed only after the lockout was lifted.
An issue of contention is the company’s proposal to relocate the factory to the Irapuram Rubber Park, in nearby Perumbavoor municipality, in order to expand and modernise. Before the lockout the factory was producing only 90 tonnes of tyres a day, a quantity considered insufficient for its ongoing viability. As it is not possible to expand at the current site, a move to this location would allow for an expanded capacity of 200 tonnes a day. Employees have reportedly been offered a free transport service to the new location and wages would remain unchanged.
Company management plans to use the land at the existing site to establish a speciality hospital, five-star hotel and IT complex. Around Rs 10 billion (£138 million) is expected to be invested in this project should it go ahead.