After a year disrupted by labour unrests at its Manesar facility in Haryana, the country’s largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has raised wages by 50 per cent for workers at its Gurgaon unit.
According to a wage settlement agreement signed between the company and the Gurgaon-based Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union (MUKU), permanent workers at the Gurgaon unit will be given an increment of Rs 18,000 in their monthly salary spread over a period of three years. The wage agreement is effective retrospectively from April 1.
Confirming the development, Kuldeep Jhangu, general secretary of MUKU, said: “The wage negotiations were settled amicably. It’s a historic agreement. Apart from the increment, a lot of benefits have been given to workers by the company.”
The raise assumes significance especially when it is compared with the previous settlement in 2009. MUKU had secured a six per cent raise for its members in 2009. At that point, the average raise was in the range of about Rs 7,000 spread over three years and in the first year of settlement, workers only got 50 per cent of the Rs 7,000-hike.
There are 2,032 permanent workers at MSIL’s Gurgaon unit. Their average salary ranges from Rs 35,000 to Rs 39, 500 per month. Of the Rs 18,000 increment which would be given over a period of three years, workers can avail of 80 per cent of the increase, or around Rs 14,400, in the first year itself. After the raise, a permanent worker who was earning an average salary of Rs 35,000 will take home Rs 53,000 every month.
Besides, the company has doled out a host of incentives ranging from increased travel allowance of Rs 1,200 to improved medical coverage. The management has doubled medical coverage of a permanent worker to Rs 5,500. “An important initiative is that the training period for junior technicians has been reduced to two years from the earlier three years,” Jhangu added.
The management has been trying to address concerns of workers in the company after instances of labour unrests at its second unit. A series of violent stand-offs at the Manesar plant had crippled production for most of last year. Production loss to the company due to the strikes and a month-long lockout declared in July this year stand at 110,000 units.
Though wage agreements have now been inked with workers at the Gurgaon unit, settlement is pending at Manesar due to the absence of union representatives. Office-bearers of the Manesar-based Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union were arrested by the police in connection with a violent incident in the factory in July, which had resulted in the death of a senior management executive.
The Manesar workers had demanded wage rises of Rs 15,000-16,000 per month. The management had made a counter-offer of an increase of Rs 10,500 in salary.
Negotiations were at an advanced stage when violence erupted over the suspension of a worker on July 18.