By BS Reporter
After a month-long lockout, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) is set to commence production work at its Manesar unit on Tuesday amid simmering discontent over the reinstatement of over 500-odd permanent workers who have been served termination notices by the company.
An office bearer of the Gurgaon-based Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union (MUKU) said, "We are in discussion with the management for reinstatement of the sacked workers. Our fight is not against the company but against the state government which is investigating the incident."
MUKU, backed by 30 trade unions in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt, has been demanding an independent CBI probe into the arson and damage which took place on July 18.
The violent standoff between the workers and the management had resulted in the death of a senior management executive and had left injured 96 officials at the Manesar facility.
The MUKU representative, however, clarified the union was not considering any measure to stall production work to protest against the dismissal of a third of the 1,528 permanent workers at Manesar. MUKU members would, however, meet representatives of other trade unions in the region to deliberate on a plausible course of action to resolve the issue this Thursday.
Maruti Suzuki is, in the meantime, readying itself to start work with 300 workers under heavy police protection from Tuesday.
"We are reopening the plant with 300 workers. With this workforce, we will operate just a single shift from 8 am to 4:30 pm," said a senior executive at MSIL.
The company would manufacture 150 units of premium hatchback Swift and sedan DZire on the day.
Production would be ramped up gradually.
The Manesar unit, which accounts for around 45 per cent of MSIL's overall production capacity, used to roll out 1,600 units daily.
Maruti Suzuki would additionally conduct a screening of all the 1,869 workers hired on contract basis from September 2. Those deemed "fit" by Maruti Suzuki would be absorbed as permanent workers in the company. Sources in the company, however, said over 500 workers hired on contract basis were not likely to be absorbed by the company.
Last week, MSIL Chairman RC Bhargava had said, "Our officials who were injured in the incident on July 18, and others who managed to escape have identified workers involved in the violence. We have lost confidence in them and have issued termination notices to over 500 such employees. It is possible that once more people are identified more notices will be sent out."
The company would employ a fifth of its workforce on short-term agreements for non-core activities. No contract worker would be employed in production activities by the company. To increase the workforce, the company would start fresh recruitment of permanent workers from September 2 and existing contract workers both at Gurgaon and Manesar will be considered.
It is estimated that Maruti Suzuki lost around Rs 1,500 crore in revenues due to the lockout at its Manesar unit.