The deal that finally ended the 14-day-long strike at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s Manesar plant, with most of the workers’ demands having been met, was struck after a 42-hour marathon tripartite negotiation at 3am on Friday.
The agreement signed by the management, workers and the Haryana government provides for reinstatement of 64 dismissed permanent workers though 30 permanent workers will remain suspended. Also, 1,200 casual workers will be taken back.
The closed-door meeting in a Haryana government guesthouse was unprecedented in more than one sense. The workers were allegedly warned of arrest and were not allowed to move out and meet their families since Wednesday.
“None of us could sleep while government officials were allotted rooms. Police escorted us even to the washrooms. Some of us got out for a smoke under police cover,” said Rishi Pal, executive member of the union formed by MSIL workers.
Gurgaon police commissioner SS Deswal, however, refuted the allegations, saying, “None of the workers were forced to remain inside the venue. It was their decision. The meeting proceeded in congenially.”
Government sources, however, admitted there were clear instructions that the workers’ representatives not be allowed out without a solution, as they were being monitored by their leaders from the Citu and Aituc.