No production as Maruti unit turns police fortress


The police on Thursday arrested 88 workers employed at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar facility in connection with the labour violence yesterday, even as production came to a stop. Some of the assembly lines were damaged during the violence.

Awanish Kumar Deb, a general manager, human resources, was charred to death yesterday. Around 100 employees, including two Japanese nationals, are injured. Representatives of the newly formed, non-politically affiliated Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union and a large number of workers are believed to be in hiding. The management says there is no certainty when production would resume. The incident led to the company’s stock price fall by 8.74 per cent to close at Rs 1,117.35 apiece on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Around 1,200 police personnel are deployed at the factory and a special investigation team has been set up to probe the incident. The management said it was an “orchestrated act of mob violence” and was by no means “an industrial relations problem” like other labour agitations the company had confronted. The management warned such “pre-planned labour action” could spread to other companies in the largest automobile production belt of the country, in the Manesar-Gurgaon region. The belt accounts for nearly half the auto production in the country and houses 200,000 auto workers.

The Japanese embassy issued a statement deploring the incident. “We expect the Manesar plant will resume operations and normalcy will be restored at the earliest,” it said.

D L Sachdeva, national secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, said, “The police should first screen the already arrested people before arresting any more workers. Workers should not be harassed.”