Automotive plants in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt will remain shut tomorrow. Managements of both Hero Motocorp and Maruti Suzuki have declared a holiday owing to the all India strike called by the central trade unions. Apart from the heavyweights other component makers like Sona Koyo and Rico Auto will be shut too.
While workers get a day off tomorrow CNBC-TV18 takes a look around Maruti's Manesar factory six months since it was re-opened for production after the bloodiest bout of labour troubles in the company's history.
The 600-acre Maruti facility at Manesar had turned into a war zone for a little over 5 hours on July 18 last year, claiming the life of a senior HR executive and leaving nearly 100 others injured.
Its six months since Maruti finally reopened the factory to production after a month long shutdown. A look around the plant suggests that its business as usual for the majority Japanese owned OEM. Production levels are now 20% more from the 30,000 units-average prior to the violence. The company is now gearing up to open plant c at this very Manesar site in another 6 months. It plans to hire an additional 2000 hands for this.
"We have moved on since the violence. There are good working relations between supervisors and workers," says MM Singh, COO - Production, Maruti. While things look normal, there are a few vexing issues that linger. Twenty six year old Jitendra was one of the 546 workers fired by the company last July. He says life for him now is about running from pillar to post.
"After the July 18 incident, the Maruti management laid off 546 permanent workers. We have met the Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda thrice. We also met his son Deepender also but our problems and troubles continue," Jitendra elaborates.
These laidoff Maruti workers have now formed a provisional committee and would be meeting the Haryana CM at Chandigarh on Thursday. Trade union CITU, which has spearheaded the fight for the laidoff workers, claims another 1800 contract workers have been let go over the past six months.
Satvir Singh State President, CITU adds,"150 workers were arrested by the police without a fair hearing. Its been seven months and they are still in jail."
A lot has changed at the Manesar factory since July 18. For starters the CCTV office that was completely destroyed and burnt to ground has been now been restored. Apart from that there are new look exteriors with a fresh coat of paint. But the question everyone is asking that if indeed worker-management relations have improved why the need extra security with private guards all the time.