Maruti strike continues, AITUC warns it could spread (Lead)

June 15th, 2011 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) The strike at Maruti Suzuki’s plant in Haryana’s Manesar town continued for the 12th day Wednesday, even as the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) warned it could spread to other carmakers in a show of solidarity if the workers’ demands are not met.

“The strike won’t be called off. We want a separate union, we want it now,” a representative of the strikers told IANS from Manesar.

According to him, the halt in production, which has cost Maruti a volume loss of over 11,000 cars in the last 12 days, will only be called off if all their demands, including the reinstatement of 11-sacked employees of the plant are met.

“We have received all types of assurances, but do they count for nothing until they are transformed into action,” the workers’ representative said.

AITUC general secretary Anil Kumar said that if the workers’ demands are not met at the earliest, then the unions in other automobile companies in Haryana would also halt production at their facilities in a show of solidarity.

“The strike is still on. It’s all due to the Haryana labour commission which does not want to see a new union being formed. If the workers’ demands are not fulfilled, or at least some compromise is not reached, unions in other areas like Dharuhera and Gurgaon facilities too will join in,” Anil Kumar told IANS.

According to him, the decision by other automobile company unions would be taken later Wednesday.

“We waited for two days to join in with Maruti workers. We will take a final call today (Wednesday),” said Anil Kumar.

The sharp reactions from workers and unions came after the Maruti Suzuki management Tuesday said that it was willing to form a new union for the Manesar unit on condition that the new entity will not be affiliated to any outside body of workers.

“We are engaged in a constructive discussion with the workers and are ready to resolve the issue,” a senior Maruti Suzuki official told IANS.

According to the official, the production halt at the Manesar plant has cost the automobile major a volume loss of around 11,400 cars, including 600 units on the first day of the strike June 4.

“We have suffered a production loss of 11,400 units since the start of the strike. The car models which are affected include Swift, Swift Dzire, A-Star and SX4,” the official said.

The total loss has been pegged at around Rs.340 crore.

“We want an immediate end to the strike so that production can be restarted,” the official said, adding that the company is looking at several ways to placate the striking workers.

Maruti’s facility at Manesar produces its bestseller hatchbacks and sedans like the Swift, Swift Dzire, A-Star and SX4.

The majority of the automobile giant’s production takes place at its remaining three plants in Gurgaon, the satellite of the national capital.

Maruti Suzuki has the largest chunk of the Indian domestic car market with sales of 12,71,005 vehicles during fiscal 2010-11, including the export of 138,266 units.

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