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Maruti's Manesar plant: Talks indecisive, strike continues

Talks between Maruti Suzuki India's management and striking workers of its Manesar plant, brokered by the Haryana government, remained inconclusive today and the deadlock continued for the 11th day.

October 18, 2011 / 11:36 AM IST
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Talks between Maruti Suzuki India's management and striking workers of its Manesar plant, brokered by the Haryana government, remained inconclusive today and the deadlock continued for the 11th day.

During the day, the company said it resumed partial operations at the Manesar plant's weld shop and press shop with about 180 workers who have not joined the strike.

On the other hand, the company's main plant at Gurgaon resumed production and rolled out 1,700 vehicles after two days of closure last week following supply constraints of diesel engines and transmissions from Suzuki Powertrain India Ltd (SPIL) whose workers are also on strike.

Also read: Maruti Suzuki's Gurgaon plant resumes operations today

The workers, in the mean time, kept up the pressure on the management and the Haryana government, and took out a rally at Gurgaon with the support of around 6,000 colleagues from factories of different companies in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt.

"Talks remained inconclusive but it is at least a positive development that negotiations have started for the first time since the strike broke out (on October 7)," an official of Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said.

When contacted, an official of the Haryana Labour Department told PTI, "Talks will again continue tomorrow and both the sides have shown signs of flexibility."

The President of non-recognised Maruti Suzki Employees Union Sonu Gujjar said both the sides presented their views today in a positive manner and they will discuss the issues again.

The MSI workers have been on strike demanding the reinstatement of about 1,200 casual workers. They are also demanding that 44 permanent workers, suspended after a settlement agreement signed on October 1 to end a 33-day-long standoff, be taken back.

Workers at SPIL and Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt Ltd (SMIPL) have also gone on strike in support of their colleagues at MSI's Manesar plant.

In the meantime, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge today said the Centre is monitoring the strike at MSI's plant, but ruled out direct intervention as long as the Haryana government is handling the issue.

"We are monitoring the Maruti dispute, our Chief Labour Commissioner is assessing the situation," Kharge said on the sidelines of 44th session of the Standing Labour Committee.

Earlier in the day, MSI said it has partially started work at its Manesar plant.

"To start with, the weld shop and the press shop have been made operational. The company resumed operations with about 180 trained workers from among those who have refused to join the strike," it said in a statement.

Besides, the Gurgaon plant resumed operations today after two days of break due to non-availability of diesel engines and transmissions from SPIL.

The Gurgaon plant, which rolls out usually 2,800 cars a day, produced 1,700 vehicles today.

Meanwhile, workers showed their strength by organising a rally that had around 6,000 people taking part in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office at Gurgaon.

"We have submitted a memorandum to the DC," a worker of the Manesar plant said.

As per the memorandum, apart from allowing MSI's Manesar workers to form a union, the agitators are demanding that all the suspended and dismissed employees at MSI and SPIL must be taken back.

A participant in the rally claimed that workers from "around 70 factories in the entire Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt joined the rally". It, however, could not be ascertained independently.

On Saturday, the striking workers at SPIL and SMIPL vacated factory premises following an order from the Haryana government. A day earlier, workers at MSI's Manesar plant had also vacated the factory that they had occupied since October 7 following an order from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

MSI said it has undertaken a thorough check up of equipment and machinery after striking workers vacated the factory on Friday night.

"In the Press Shop, some parts of dies had been removed, rendering them non-operational. In the Weld Shop, the chords of robots had been pulled out. About 10 robots had been rendered in-operational. Machine settings had been damaged," the company claimed.

These have been repaired over the past 48 hours at the Manesar plant and the equipments have been made ready for the limited operations, it added.     

MSI also said partial production has resumed at SPIL's Manesar plant.