Nakanishi dispels rumours that the company would shut down Manesar plant

Two days after a manager was killed in a worker riot at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant, there is little clarity on when production shall resume. Company officials said they would de-recognise the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, and dismiss workers found to have participated in Wednesday’s attack. The police have arrested 91 workers thus far.

“We have to assess the damage and conduct an internal investigation before taking a decision on production,” company’s Managing Director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi told reporters. “We have an inventory of about 15,000 units at our plant and a total inventory of about 1,00,000 units, which should last for about one month.”

The plant manufactures Maruti’s most popular models like the Swift and A Star hatchbacks and the Swift Dzire and SX4 sedans, and has a history of labour unrest. Between June 4 and October 14 last, the plant experienced 21 days of worker sit-ins and a 33-day lockout that cost the company $500 million in lost production according to reports.

On Friday, Mr. Nakanishi dispelled rumours that the company would shut down the plant and shift production to Gujarat.

“The Gujarat plant shall open on schedule by 2015-2016,” Mr. Nakanishi said adding that the new plant would be expansion of, rather than a replacement for, existing production capacity.

He described Wednesday’s violence as unprecedented. “There have been disputes in the past, in India and in other plants across the world, but never like this. Thirty three managers are still in hospital.”

While the company has accused workers of an “orchestrated act of mob violence,” Gurgaon Police Commissioner K.K. Sindhu said investigation so far had not suggested that the attack was pre-meditated.