Toyota has suspended 17 workers at its Indian auto assembly plants which were temporarily closed this week following protests against delayed pay rises, a union and company official said.

The workers were suspended for misconduct and indiscipline over the protests at the two factories in southern India, which the company says included threats against management and deliberate assembly-line stoppages. 

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"The suspended employees are all members of the union. The lockout was declared more due to indiscipline than on wage hike demand, though it all began with that," a company official in the city of Bangalore told AFP on Thursday.

A union representing the workers demanded Toyota immediately withdraw the suspensions, saying there had been no official warning beforehand as required under labour laws.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd Union president Prasanna Kumar said it was willing to continue to work with the company and the state labour commissioner to resolve the dispute.

"There was no charge-sheet 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 told AFP, adding the union was notified late Wednesday of the suspensions.

Source: AFP