The victim of the clashes at Maruti’s manesar plant has been identified as the General Manager (HR), Avnish Kumar Dev. Dev was killed in a fire and 85 others were injured in a scuffle at Maruti’s Manesar plant on Wednesday. As the unrest continued on Thursday, the police arrested nearly 100 workers.
Over 1,000 policemen have now been deployed at the factory and work has been suspended indefinitely. A case has also been registered against 50 workers for attempt to murder and damage to property.
The workers allegedly set property on fire and ransacked the premises. Sources say that a supervisor allegedly got into an altercation with a junior worker and passed some disparaging and casteist remarks. During that altercation the worker allegedly slapped the supervisor, following which the management took the decision to suspend the worker. The other workers protested against the suspension.
While the management was meeting in the conference room, the workers stormed in and there was a physical fight. At the same time sections of workers set fire at five places in the factory including the control room and assembly line.
The Company claims the workers blocked exits and threw the first punch. Management sources say that one of the first places the workers set fire to was the security room. Sources say they destroyed some of the CCTV footage and TV monitors in that room by setting it on fire.
They also got documents from the HR department, put it on the assembly line and set fire to it, according to sources.
The company said, “The sequence of events began in the morning with a worker beating up a supervisor on the shop floor. The workers’ union prevented the management from taking disciplinary action against the worker. They blocked the exit gates and held the executives hostage. To resolve the issue amicably, members of the senior management met the union. During the talks, the workers attacked the senior management.”
The workers claim the company blocked exits and unleashed bouncers on them. the Workers’ Union hit back at the managament. In a statement, the Workers’ union said, “The Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) is anguished at the recent developments in Maruti Suzuki plant, IMT Manesar where the management has resorted to anti-worker and anti-Union activities in a pre-planned manner leading to the closure of the factory yesterday.”
“It was a pre-planned attack, we weren’t able to understand it at that time. After a meeting ended, they started beating us, vandalising the office, machines and even some cars,” an injured Maruti Suzuki employee said.
Labour unrest is not a new phenomenon in Manesar plant which mainly produces Swift. The factory had witnessed three such instances last year causing a total production loss of about 83,000 units.
The Maruti Manesar plant:
The Manesar facility has a capacity of 550,000 vehicles per annum. It accounts for a third of the company’s production capacity. The plant assembles or makes popular and profitable models like Swift, Dzire, SX4, A-Star and the newly launched Ertiga.
The average realisation of sales or revenue per car at Manesar is Rs 4,00,000 against overall realisation of Rs 3,00,000.
Analysts calculate that if the plant is closed for a day, it costs Maruti Suzuki Rs 73 crore in revenue and Rs 8 crore in operating profit. If it closes for two weeks, the sales loss could be Rs 1,100 crore and operating loss of Rs 121 crore.
Maruti sold 96,597 vehicles in June 2012. The company reported a net profit of Rs 1,409 crore over net sales of Rs 36,069 crore for the year ended March 2012.