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Maruti set to get a new union

After three months of workers' agitations, 30 workers leaving their jobs and the worst-ever quarterly financials, India's largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, may see a new union at its Manesar factory. Sumant Banerji reports.

autos Updated: Nov 08, 2011 21:41 IST
Sumant Banerji

After three months of workers' agitations, 30 workers leaving their jobs and the worst-ever quarterly financials, India's largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, may see a new union at its Manesar factory.

A new team of workers on Friday filed a fresh application for registering the 'Maruti Suzuki Employees Union' to the Haryana Labour department, a process earlier scuttled in July. But this time there is tacit support from the management and the state government, sources told HT.

Ram Mehar Singh and Sarabjit Singh have reportedly been elected to replace Sonu Gujjar and Shiv Kumar as president and general secretary of the proposed union.

Gujjar and Kumar were among the 30 workers who resigned from Maruti last week after receiving a fat compensation - viewed as a sellout of the employees' movement.

"We have applied for the registration in consultation with the management and do not forsee opposition," said one of the leaders of the proposed union on condition of anonymity. Last time, the application was filed covertly and with the backing of trade union organisations like All-India Trade Union Congress.

"Workers have informed us in writing that they have filed an application for a union with Haryana government," a Maruti Suzuki spokesperson confirmed without commenting whether the company would oppose the move as it did in the past.

The settlement between the management and workers on October 21 was silent on the issue of an independent union though it mandated setting up two workers' committees. Maruti has always been against more than one union at its factories.

"The company is no longer averse to a separate union'" said a worker. "All it wants is that there should not be any external influence or affiliation. We will not allow outsiders to play petty politics at our cost."