Maruti Suzuki could restart production at Manesar next week
The country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki could restart production at the Manesar plant, which is currently locked out, next week, even as the head of Suzuki worldwide, Osamu Suzuki is scheduled to visit the strife torn manufacturing plant in the coming weeks. Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant was locked out after violence in the plant, said to have been engineered by a disgruntled mob of workers, claimed the like of a senior human resources manager. This violence also injured many senior management officials of Maruti Suzuki, leading to their hospitalization.
Following the violence, many workers have gone underground fearing arrests even as the Haryana police have launched a manhunt for the leaders of the workers union. Amidst all this, production at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant has continued to remain under suspension, leading to waiting periods mounting steadily. Maruti produces its best selling models like the Swift hatchback and the Swift Dzire compact sedan at the Manesar plant, and these car models command waiting periods ranging from 2 to 6 months for some of the diesel engined variants.
Given that the Indian festive season is fast approaching, Maruti needs to restart production soon as the failure to do so could cost it dear in the part of the year when car sales are at their peak. The Maruti management is said to be mulling the reopening of the Manesar plant next week with production to resume under heavy police protection to prevent untoward incidents. Also doing the rounds on the grapevine is the rumor about Maruti planning to regularize a large number of contractual workers, by absorbing them into the permanent workforce to prevent future unrest at the plant.
Thus far, the ratio of the permanent and contractual workers at the Manesar plant has been heavily skewed with contract workers outnumbering the permanent workforce many fold. Due to the permanent workers getting better salaries and benefits that comes with permanent employment, there seems to have been resentment building up amongst temporary/contract workers, against the management of Maruti Suzuki. For being absorbed into the permanent work force of Maruti, a temporary worker needs to serve over 2 years of continuous employment.
However, the contracts of the temporary workforce is said to be renewed every six months, thus cutting their continuous employment span. This means that the temporary/contract workforce cannot become permanent even after serving for 2 years or so. This is said to be a major bone of contention amongst temporary workers. So, if indeed Maruti Suzuki plans to absorb the temporary workforce into its permanent rolls, the labour trouble at Manesar could finally be solved for the long term. Watch this space.