Maruti strike called off after tripartite pacts

The gate of Maruti Suzuki plant at Manesar is covered with metal sheets on account of the employees' protest. The strike ended today morning. Photo: S. Subramanium  

The 14-day-long strike by workers of Maruti Suzuki India Limited's Manesar plant in which workers of Suzuki Powertrain India Limited and Suzuki Motorcycle India Private Limited joined, was called off in the early hours of Friday after the managements, the workers and the Haryana government arrived at separate tripartite agreements.

Unrest had been festering at the Manesar plant since June, hampering car production thrice in the past five months. In June, workers had gone on a 13-day sit-in after the management, according to the workers, placed roadblocks in their efforts to get recognition from the Haryana Labour Department for an independent union.

On August 29, the workers were denied entry to the plant after they refused to sign a Good Conduct Bond, as insisted by the management, before joining duty. This led to a 33-day-long dharna by the workers outside the plant. The issue was resolved on September 30.

In a significant concession to the workers, the management, which had earlier insisted that the workers join the Gurgaon-based Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union and use that forum to raise issues, has agreed to set up two committees at the Manesar plant — a grievance redress committee and a labour welfare committee.

These committees will have representatives of both workers and the management. The grievance redress committee will also include the Labour Officer concerned as a permanent invitee to review its proceedings. The labour welfare committee will “promote measures for good relations between the management and workers,” Maruti Suzuki India said in a statement.

The workers have also succeeded in forcing the management to take back 1,200 contract workers. Denial of entry to them on October 1 led to the latest strike on October 7, which unexpectedly was supported by workers of Powertrain and Suzuki Motorcycle.

Maruti Suzuki said it approached the talks in a “positive frame, keeping in mind the long-term interests of the company and its strong culture of teamwork.” The company said it considered the cases of the 94 employees against whom disciplinary action had been taken and “evaluated the severity of indiscipline” in each case. “Wherever the charges were not serious, the management has decided to take back the employees. The agreement provides for taking back 64 employees. However, in the case of another 30 employees, the charges were found to be of serious nature. The agreement provides that these employees are suspended. An enquiry and disciplinary proceedings will be initiated against them as per rules. The enquiry will be completed within 10 days,” the statement said.

The agreement also won back for the workers the transport services to and from work in line with their shifts. The company had stopped the transport services after hostilities broke out in October.

The workers have also agreed to forego pay for the duration of the strike.

The agreement was signed in the presence of senior officials of the State government, including Deputy Commissioner (Gurgaon) P.C. Meena, Sub-Divisional Magistrate Satyendra Duhan, Labour Commissioner Satwanti Ahlawat and Additional Labour Commissioner Nitin Yadav.

The workers will resume duty at Manesar on Saturday. Three office-bearers of the workers' union of Powertrain will be under suspension out of the 18 workers who were dismissed.

Discussions on wage revision at Powertrain will continue. It is learnt that all 15 dismissed workers of Suzuki Motorcyle India would be taken back.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 11:33:32 PM |

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