In a move likely to evoke strong labour reactions, country’s leading car maker, Maruti Suzuki India on Thursday announced termination of services of 500 regular workers and resumption of normal operations from August 21 at its violence hit plant at Manesar, Haryana.

"We have issued termination notices to 500 regular workers. We plan to lift the lockout from August 21 and resume operations at the facility in phases,’’ Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) chairman, R.C. Bhargava told reporters here.

The company said termination notices have been issued to regular workers who were allegedly involve din the July 18 violent incidents which led to the death of a senior MSI executive, Ashwani Kumar and left nearly 100 others injured. Maruti Suzuki India had declared a lockout at the Manesar plant on July 21, stating the safety and well-being of its employees were paramount to the company.

The people short listed for termination and will not be taken back includes workers and persons arrested by police and who are likely to face criminal proceedings, and are also in our list, a statement by MSI said. Hinting at further action, the company said if in the course of enquiries or police investigations, it appears that more workers were involved in the violence, action will be taken against them as and when required.

Stating it was ending the process of employing contract labour, the company said it had started the process of directly hiring them. The schedule of recruitment has been communicated to all the existing contract workers through the contract agencies and recruitment would start from September 2, the statement added.

The Manesar unit is being presently guarded by the Haryana Police. MSI has created a special force of 100 security guards, including ex-servicemen, at the Manesar plant in addition to the existing security force, to enhance security.

Police has stated it would provide security at the plant and station a full battalion Rapid Action force comprising 500-600 policemen inside the facility. The plant, while on full operations before the violence, employed around 3,000 workers, of which around 1,600 were permanent employees. Besides, about 700 managerial people were also working at the plant. The Manesar plant, which has an annual capacity of 5.5 lakh units, rolls out the company's popular models Swift, entry level sedan DZiRE and SX4 along with compact car A-Star.

The Haryana government had formed a special investigation team (SIT) headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Ravinder Tomar to probe violence at Manesar plant. On August 1, the police had arrested 10 office bearers of the Maruti Suzuki Workers' Union, including its president Ram Meher and general secretary Sarabjit Singh, taking the total number of workers arrested to 114 in relation to the incident.

The company has been facing labour unrest for along time and last year it witnessed three incidents of unrest at Manesar plant due to which it had suffered a loss of around Rs. 2,500 crore for 83,000 units.

Personal Security Officers (PSOs) have been provided for the safety of managers, supervisors, and where necessary the workers. 3) Security arrangements have been made at the residences of the employees. ``We believe that these measures and the continuing efforts of the Haryana government and its police force to investigate, arrest and prosecute the criminals involved in the violence on July 18 will create a safe environment for work to resume,’’ the statement added.

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