The management of Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKML) and the employees’ union refused to budge from their positions on Thursday, prolonging the logjam arising from a workers’ strike at the automaker even as the December 7 deadline set by the state government to mutually sort out the issue is nearing.

While the union sought a revocation of the suspension of 40 employees, the company issued a statement saying it would pursue an enquiry against the suspended employees in a “free and fair” manner, although it made clear that it would not go back on matters of discipline.

A neutral officer will conduct the enquiry, it added.

Suspension pending enquiry (SPE), the Japanese firm said in a statement, is neither a punishment nor a loss of job but a standard practice followed in the event of misconduct by an employee.

During the period of enquiry, the suspended employee will get a subsistence allowance, and the person is reinstated at work if the enquiry officer gives a clean chit, it said.

“Discipline will always be at the core of TKM’s operations and the company will continue to provide a conducive working environment at all levels without compromising the basic work culture,” according to the statement. Earlier in the day, the employees’ union said at a press conference that it was prepared both for a ‘long-drawn conflict’ as well as negotiations with the management.

The union said it has issues about the workload, and when it had expressed their anguish briefly on November 9, about 40 employees were suspended.

The management, the union said, has asked employees to sign an undertaking committing to meet “required production,” without clarity on this production aspect.

Union said it was prepared both for a ‘long-drawn conflict’ as well as negotiations with the management

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