for building a democratic labour movement in India
Even as the strife between the workers and the management at the Manesar facility of the country’s largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), entered the sixth day, the company rolled out 150 vehicles. MSIL has also hired another batch of skilled technicians, taking the total number of workers hired on a contract basis in the week to 425. A senior company executive said, “The two plants at Manesar (A and B) are integrated. The products made at the weld shop at the second plant are being sent for assembly at the first plant. Since the second plant is highly automated, with the same man-hours the output there would be 30-40 per cent higher. It would help us ramp up production even amidst a shortage in manpower.” The company now has a workforce of 800 employees to kick off operations at the second plant at Manesar and ramp up production at the facility over the next few days. This includes 50 engineers from the Gurgaon plant and 290 supervisors at the Manesar plant.
The second plant, set up with an investment of Rs 1,700 crore, is being commissioned a month ahead of schedule. Between Wednesday and Friday, a total of 285 cars were rolled out of the facility. So far, no negotiations have taken place between the workers and the management. Shiv Kumar, general secretary of the proposed Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) had yesterday said the workers would seek the state government’s intervention to make the environment favourable for them to resume work. He, however, said the workers would not relent and sign the good conduct bond, which, the management has insisted upon. “We stand by our demands. The management has to withdraw the bond, take back the suspended workers and recognise our independent union,” he said. The workers at MSIL’s Manesar facility have been supported by other unions in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt. Nearly 3,000 workers from 35 unions in the region had assembled in front of the Manesar plant on Thursday to express solidarity with the protesting workers. The unions have been considering a tool-down strike next week if the management declines to negotiate with the protesting employees at MSIL. Production at the Manesar plant was fit since Monday after the company demanded the workers sign a ‘good conduct bond’ before entering the factory’s premises. The management has alleged the quality as well as the quantity of cars being produced has been deteriorating since the 1,600 workers called off their 13-day strike in mid-June, demanding a separate, new union. So far, 40-odd permanent workers have signed the bond, a MSIL spokesperson said. As many as 49 workers have been suspended and dismissed on charges of sabotaging cars being manufactured at the unit. Till Tuesday, the company suffered an estimated production loss of about 2,400 units, valued at around Rs 80 crore.