Trade unions across the country slammed the workers who had gone on rampage last Wednesday at carmaker Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar factories killing a senior company executive and injuring at least 100 others.
Unions said workers should have adopted a democratic method of protest adding that the management’s role is also suspect.
“Last Wednesday was a sad day for trade unionism in the country,” said DL Sachdev, national secretary, All India Trade Union Congress. “We condemn the violent action as that is not the way for a democratic trade union. At the same time, blaming all the workers may not be right. Management is also responsible as it had isolated the workers.”
The company on Saturday announced an indefinite lockout at the two factories till the investigation into the incident was underway and the future safety of the workers was not secured. At least 97 workers have been arrested so far but all the executive members of the Maruti Suzuki Worker’s Union (MSWU) remain absconding.
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) also condemned the violence.
“It is totally unwelcome and non-endorsable. CITU is surprised at the manner such violence erupted and demands a thorough inquiry by an independent agency into the entire incident including the source of provocation,” it said in a statement.
While no concrete reason could be established for the violence, Sachdev claimed that workers had been suppressed for sometime.
“Even as we are shocked by Wednesday’s incidents, there is no denying that workers were not happy,” he said. “The wage negotiations were underway but the workers wanted a revision for contract workers as well but Maruti was reluctant. That was a point of contention.”
Maruti said it had already started a process where the number of contract workers would have come down drastically by March 2013.
“We decided to restrict only for non value adding activities,” said R C Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. “The recruitment of these workers would also be done not through an independent contractor but by the company directly.”