Maruti labour unrest spreads to Suzuki units - The Economic Times
NEW DELHI: The ongoing labour unrest at Maruti Suzuki's Manesar facility spread to three companies of Suzuki Motors in India on Wednesday, with
more than 4,000 workers going on a flash strike in support of their colleagues at the country's largest car maker.
The protests stalled production at engine units of Suzuki Powertrain India and Suzuki Castings in Manesar and two-wheeler unit of Suzuki Motorcycle India in Gurgaon from Wednesday afternoon.
"All the workers of different shifts at these three companies have gone on strike since this afternoon in support of MSI's ( Maruti Suzuki India) Manesar plant workers," Suzuki Powertrain India Employees Union President Sube Singh Yadav said.
Though the immediate trigger for protests was not known, union leaders said that remarks of Maruti Chairman Osamu Suzuki, that the management will not accept any indiscipline, has sparked a strong reaction among the staff. Also, the company's decision to sack five more workers in Manesar on Tuesday on disciplinary grounds and hiring of 100 staff to replace the existing workforce has led to resentment.
The workers have asked Maruti management to end the 16-day standoff with Manesar workers, who have so far refused to sign a good conduct bond that the management has set as a prerequisite for entering the factory premises.
"The company is being run by workers and Maruti produced around 13 lakh cars in FY11, which is 30% more than its installed capacity of 10 lakh. Driven by workers initiatives, the company managed to reach its historically high production, but now they are subject to extreme adverse conditions just because they are demanding their basic rights," said Sonu Gujjar, president of workers body of Maruti's car assembly plant in Manesar.
Suzuki, the sixth largest Japanese carmaker with 54.4% in Maruti, is facing a possible shutdown of its main plant in India. The Gurgaon facility makes some of its top selling vehicles such as Alto, WagonR and Eeco and employs nearly 4,500 staff.
The abrupt stoppage of production at Manesar, which makes critical diesel engines, may soon impact production of diesel variants of Ritz and Dzire cars made at Gurgaon plants.
"Maruti may be heading for a major disaster if the diesel engine plant of Suzuki Powertrain stops production. Diesel cars are in high demand and this will hit sales, which has seen sharp decline in past quarter," said an auto analyst. Suzuki employs about 2,500 workers at its Manesar plant, while the two-wheeler facility that rolls out 1,200 motorcycles and scooters every day, has 1,400 workers at its plant in Gurgaon.