A large number of workers in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt in Haryana stayed away from work on Tuesday in protest against the death of a worker of an automobile firm here over the weekend. The daylong strike affected production in several companies in the industrial hub of the State.

The strike began on a ugly note at Rico Auto, an auto-parts manufacturing unit that has been witnessing labour unrest for the past month, when some employees beat up the company’s deputy general manager Sanjeev Arya at the entrance of its premises in the morning.

Responding to a bandh call given by the various unions, workers of several companies gathered outside Rico Auto around noon and held a peaceful demonstration demanding the arrest of those responsible for the death of Ajit Yadav (26), who sustained injuries in Sunday’s clash between some workers of the company and died later.

The agitating workers also demanded Rs. 25 lakh compensation to the next of kin of the deceased and a job to a member of his family. “Also, the company should not create hurdles in the registration of the workers’ union and re-induct the 16 suspended employees. If our demands are not met, we will be forced to prolong the strike,” said Kamalpreet Singh, the working president of Hero Honda Workers’ Union.

Mr. Singh claimed that several thousand workers of the over 70-odd companies in Gurgaon took part in the protest affecting production.

The police had made elaborate security arrangements and a large number of police personnel, a fire tender and a “Vajra” vehicle were deployed outside the Rico Auto to deal with any situation. “We have sufficient number of police personnel at our disposal and have got reinforcements from different parts of Haryana,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (East Gurgaon) Jagdeesh Nagar, who along with several other senior officers was present at the spot.

Rico Auto senior vice-president (human resource) Surender Choudhry said the company was open to dialogue with the agitating workers for an amicable solution. “We are willing to speak to the workers for an agreeable solution. But they are resorting to violence and the atmosphere is not conducive to talks at present. Production has been hit by the strike and the company has suffered a loss of several crore rupees in the past few days alone. The situation has deteriorated after the Diwali break and only 200 workers have been reporting to work,” Mr. Choudhry said.

“The company has announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh to the family of the deceased and has also decided to provide free education to his children. We are also open to the idea of increasing the compensation amount,” he added.

Meanwhile, the police have registered a murder case in connection with the death of Ajit Yadav and have arrested two persons.

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