Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Maruti Suzuki's Manesar workers plan hunger strike, rally

Workers from Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant are planning a hunger strike and other peaceful protests to force the management to take back the 548 employees sacked after this year's July's violence. 

These workers have formed a new provisional working committee under the aegis of the now defunct Maruti Suzuki Workers' Union (MSWU) and the new functionaries have served a notice to the Haryana government for a hunger strike at the Gurgaon deputy commissioner office on November 7 and a mass rally on Thursday. 

The committee, led by Iman Khan, Ramniwas, Omprakash Jat, Ktar Singh among others, also plans to submit a memorandum to Haryana Labour Minister Shiv Charan Lal Sharma to for a decisive action on the prolonged issue. The workers also want their colleagues, who were imprisoned after the July riot, to be released. 

Om Prakash, member of the provisional working committee of MSWU said the management's action has been arbitrary as only 211 employees have been charged by the special investigation team. "The hunger strike and the proposed rally are (being held) to protest against this decision and also seek remedial measure to reinstate all innocent workers, who are either not involved in any activity or not charged by SIT," he added. 

Maruti has almost resumed normal production at the Manesar plant and is manufacturing around 1,600 cars/day. It is operating both the plants and full peak capacity is expected to be reached by the middle of this month. The company's top executives had earlier told analysts in a conference call that it would reach the maximum production of 1,800 cars/day by the middle of November. 

Senior company officials declined to comment on the issue. The latest call by workers highlights the discontent simmering among the workers nearly four months after a deadly assault killed a Maruti employee and nearly destroyed one of India's hi-tech autom
ated plants. The MSWU is currently defunct as all its office bearers are imprisoned for instigating violence in the Manesar plant. 

Trade union officials active in the area say that Maruti's Manesar workers would get some support from their peers working in the vicinity in the Manesar-Gurgaon industrial belt and they would also extend support to the strike. 

"The issue of Manesar has not settled yet. Workers are still looking at an amicable solution with a clear and transparent action on the July violence. Various trade union have extended support to MSWU on their stand as workers were dismissed without any investigation or fair trial," said national secretary of All Indian Trade Union Congress DL Sachdev. 

Maruti has replaced a large portion of the original workforce at Manesar. It has also done away with all temporary workers that formed a large proportion before the July violence. Besides recruiting new workers at Manesar, it has also increased automation at both the plants to reduce dependence on workers and is promoting robotised manufacturing at its older Gurgaon plants also. 

"There are a large number of workers who got terminated or were asked to leave just on suspicion. The company has no valid reasons, but purported by the government, many workers were harassed and summarily dismissed. We are protesting to get some remedial action from the Haryana government and Maruti Suzuk to maintain cordial working conditions without hounding workers for past incidents," said Iman Khan another member of the committee.


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