Apollo Tyres South African workers of strike;production stops

The company, which has also been alleged to be indulging in anti-competitive practice and asked to pay 10 per cent of its turnover as penalty by South African Competition Commission, said it is seeking legal advice to defend itself.

"Consequent upon declaration of a general strike in tyre industry in South Africa, the workers of both the plants at Durban and Ladysmith of Apollo Tyres South Africa (ATSA) have gone on strike," the company said in a filing on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

When contacted a company official said the two plants has have stopped production since September 1. These have a combined production capacity of 180 tonnes per day. Apollo Tyres had inherited the plants when it acquired Dunlop Tyres International Ltd (South Africa) in a Rs 290 crore all-cash deal in 2006.

The two plants employ around 2,500 people at present. The employees have joined an indefinite nationwide strike called by workers affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) that began in August.

Apollo Tyres also said it has received a notice of a referral to the Competition Tribunal of a complaint alleging anti-competitive conduct by tyre manufacturers, including ATSA, and recommending imposition of penalty of 10 per cent of turnover for the year 2008.

"ATSA is in process of defending the case at the level of Competition Tribunal by taking suitable legal advice," the filing said. It further said ATSA has submitted all the information to the Competition Commission in "a transparent manner during the course of enquiry and have fully co-operated with their investigation to date."

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