Maruti Suzuki Manesar Plant: Maruti Suspends 16 more, Fires 12 Trainees; Stock Tumbles

Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 07:29 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Maruti Suzuki India said it has suspended 16 more permanent workers and discontinued the services of 12 trainees as the stand-off between the management and workers at its Manesar plant intensified, completely affecting production for the second day.

"Production has not started yet, but there are indications that it will resume today with alternate arrangements like contract workers and hiring technicians," a Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) spokesperson said.

Shares of Maruti Suzuki plunged in early trade on the bourses today as production at its Manesar plant got disrupted after a labour dispute entered its second day.

After suspending 10 workers, dismissing five and discontinuing with the services of six trainees yesterday, the company is continuing with its aggressive crackdown against labourers after quality issues attributed to sabotage came to light last week.

"We have suspended 16 more permanent employees today and also terminated the services of 12 more technician trainees," the spokesperson said.

Those who have been suspended and dismissed are being charged with sabotage and causing quality problem in cars produced last week.

The workers, however, said the management was taking these steps in 'revenge' for their 13-day strike in June demanding the recognition of a new union -- the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) -- at the plant located in Haryana.

Production at the plant came to a complete halt yesterday, with the company preventing workers from entering the factory without signing a 'good conduct bond' following the alleged "sabotage".

"The management is taking revenge on us and forcing us to sign an undertaking following rejection of our application to form a union at the plant by the Haryana government," MSEU General Secretary Shiv Kumar, who led the workers during the stir in June, said.

The suspended and dismissed workers include all the office-bearers of the proposed MSEU, he added.

However, management sources said MSI has been facing serious production issues, particularly with respect to meeting targets and quality control, in the past few weeks.

"On August 24, 1,230 cars were planned to be produced, but only 437 were assembled. Out of which, just 96 cars could pass quality check," the source had said.

Workers have been indulging in deliberate attempts to reduce output and are compromising customer interests, the source added.

However, when asked about the allegations of tampering with the products, Kumar said, "Some management-supported workers are doing this after the product is ready just to take revenge on us for the June strike."

Alleging sabotage by some workers, the company management decided to enforce a 'Good Conduct Bond' for the workers, which seeks an assurance that they will not resort to go slow measures, sabotage production or indulge in activities that will hamper normal production at the plant.

Taking an aggressive stance, the management is understood to have decided to move all non-automated production work from the plant to its Gurgaon unit till the time the workers agreed to sign the bond.

Over 22 regular workers at the plant have signed the bond so far. While casual workers have been asked to report to their respective contractors, apprentices at the plant have been given leave till September 1.

The plant, which produces models such as Swift, DZiRE and SX4, has a total of about 2,500 workers, of which 950 are regular employees.

Shares of the company opened on a weak note on the Bombay Stock Exchange and then lost further ground and slipped to a low of Rs 1,063.25, down 1.55 per cent from its previous closing price.

On the National Stock Exchange, the stock fell to a low of Rs 1,064, down 1.42 per cent from its last closing price, after opening at Rs 1,070.10.

At 0946 hours, the stock was trading at Rs 1,066.10, down 1.29 per cent on the BSE, and at Rs 1,066.20, down 1.22 per cent on the NSE.
Source: PTI
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