Maruti lockout begins, killers still roam free
India’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, announced an indefinite lockout at its two plants in Manesar in Gurgaon district on Saturday, following the death of a senior HR executive and arson by workers. Sumant Banerji and Sanjeev Ahuja report.india Updated: Jul 22, 2012 01:55 IST
India’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, announced an indefinite lockout at its two plants in Manesar in Gurgaon district on Saturday, following the death of a senior HR executive and arson by workers.
On Wednesday, a mob of at least 600 workers of the Manesar plants went berserk, killing senior HR executive Awanish Kumar Dev and injuring at least 90 others and setting the plants on fire. The two plants employ about 3,500 people.
The Haryana Police have still not been able to nab the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union’s 14 leaders, who are believed to have been the main conspirators. Maruti has asked the government to expedite the probe.
The plants that roll out 1,200 Swift and Dzire — Maruti’s most popular models — a day are not likely to resume operations unless the investigations into the incident are completed.
RC Bhargava, Maruti chairman, told a press conference: “For now, there will be a lockout... I don’t have a choice. (But) Maruti is not closed... we will be very inefficient if we take six months (to resolve the issue).”
This is for the first time that Maruti, which put the Gurgaon-Manesar region on the global industrial map, has been forced to shut down a factory. The lockout move will not only hit workers at the Manesar plants but also affect about 1.9 lakh workers of at least 50 ancillaries.
Bhargava said, “After what happened on Wednesday our priority is the safety of our employees that not only includes the managers and supervisors on the shop floor but also the workers.”
He said, “I met some employees at the hospital today and they wanted to get back to work right away and fight it out. While I like their spirit, I cannot allow them unless the factories are totally safe.”