Hyundai Resumes Production Despite India Strike

MUMBAI, India (AP) -- Hyundai Motor has resumed production in India despite an ongoing strike that forced the nation's top car exporter to halt production for two days at a cost of about $28 million, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Hyundai spokesman Rajiv Mitra said there has been no resolution of worker demands for an outside union and for the reinstatement of dozens fired in the wake of violent protests. Government-brokered talks are ongoing, he said.

"Nothing is resolved, but the factory is clear and we can do production," he said. "There are enough people to run the shifts."

Some 200 workers began a sit-in early Monday, forcing the factory to stop all operations. Police arrested them around midday Tuesday and production began around 8 p.m., Mitra said.

Union leaders could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

This is the fourth strike since 2008 at Hyundai's plants in Sriperumbedur, outside the growing auto hub of Chennai, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Hyundai employs about 10,000 in Sriperumbedur directly and its suppliers employ an additional 40,000 people.

Hyundai pioneered the model of using India as a small-car export hub, which other global carmakers are now trying to emulate, but persistent labor problems have pushed Hyundai to move some production to Turkey.

Even as companies like Ford, General Motors and Nissan rush in to India's fast-growing auto sector, the country remains a place where labor disputes can quickly turn brutish.

Last fall, thousands of auto-parts workers, some armed with rocks and makeshift clubs, went on strike just outside the capital, New Delhi, after a colleague was killed while protesting for better wages.

The 45-day strike reportedly forced GM and Ford to temporarily halt production at factories in North America.

In 2008, the chief executive of Graziano Trasmissioni India -- an Italian auto parts company owned by Swiss industrial group Oerlikon -- was clubbed to death by a mob of angry workers at a factory outside New Delhi.

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