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Suzuki re-opens Indian plant
Back to work: Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant in India has re-opened after a riot shut it down last month.
Maruti Suzuki finally re-starts production at troubled Manesar plant in India
22 August 2012
SUZUKI’S troubled Manesar plant in India that supplies the Alto city car to Australia has re-opened under tight security, five weeks after being shut down in the aftermath of a riot by workers that left one manager dead and another 95 injured.
Maruti Suzuki began partial production on Tuesday (August 21) with a production staff of just 75 of a planned 300 workers, who were outnumbered by police and a special force of ex-servicemen employed to look after law and order at the plant.
Reuters reports that more than 1200 police officers were deployed around the site on Tuesday, but Maruti Suzuki said shifts of 100 police personnel would man the plant.
The plant is operating a single shift producing only 150 cars a day compared with the plant’s capacity of 1500 to 1800 vehicles a day, but output is expected to be increased gradually.
News of the plant re-opening boosted Maruti Suzuki’s share price, which immediately jumped 1.7 per cent, clawing back almost half the 4.0 per cent drop since the July 18 riot.
Reuters said the company lost more than $250 million in lost output from the five-week shutdown.
Maruti has reportedly sacked 500 permanent workers who were proved to be directly involved in the attack and violence at the plant, while a further 500 contract workers were also terminated over their participation in the violence.
The company has agreed to discontinue using contract workers – one of the issues that caused months of friction that culminated with the riot – and will instead hire them directly, with the recruitment process starting on September 2.
Maruti Suzuki said in a statement that police have arrested a number of workers, including the 12 Union leaders, and have started legal processes “to bring the guilty to book”.
The company said it had created the special force of 100 security guards – including ex-servicemen – to enhance security, while 40 personal security officers have been provided for the safety of managers and supervisors.
“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 18th July, will create a safe environment for work to resume,” said the company statement issued ahead of the re-opening.
“Maruti Suzuki is grateful to the local community for their consistent support and expects that local leaders will play a very important part in the creation and maintenance of a safe working environment.
“Based on internal investigations, the company has identified those workers who were involved in the violence and in whom the company has lost confidence.
“The company has taken note of the fact that only a few months back, following a mutually agreed settlement, these workers had signed a good conduct undertaking. These workers will not be taken back. This list of workers includes the persons arrested by the police and who are likely to face criminal proceedings, and are also in our list.”
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