Maruti strike to continue, other auto unions pledge support (Lead)

June 13th, 2011 - 11:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) Talks between Maruti Suzuki management and representatives of employees failed to end the impasse as the strike continued for the 10th day Monday, and unions in other automobile companies said they would halt production at their facilities for two hours on Tuesday to show solidarity.

“The strike is still on. It’s all due to the Haryana labour commission which does not wants to see a new union being formed,” Anil Kumar, general secretary of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), told IANS.

According to Anil Kumar, other automobile unions in and around Manesar, where the Maruti Suzuki facility is located, would go on a two-hour production halt in their factories to show solidarity with the striking Maruti workers.

“There will be a production halt. This is done to show solidarity with our brothers in Maruti. If their demands are not fulfilled or at least some compromise is not reached, firms in other areas like Dharuhera and Gurgaon facilities too will join in,” he said.

A breakthrough in talks was expected late Monday as both the management and employes were engaged in discussions to end the strike which began June 4.

“The talks were extremely positive, our representatives have informed us. But at the last moment it was the labour commission who spoilt everything,” Kumar said.

The production halt at Maruti has cost the automobile major a volume loss of around 9,000 cars, including 600 units on the first day of the strike June 4.

“We have suffered a production loss of 9,000 units since the start of the strike. The car models which are effected include Swift, Swift Dzire, A-Star and SX4,” a senior Maruti Suzuki official told IANS.

Meanwhile, the total loss has been pegged at around Rs.280 crore (over $65 million).

“We are still in talks, which have progressed a lot since. We want an immediate end to the strike, so that production can be restarted thereafter,” the official said.

“The striking workers are demanding a separate union status for the Manesar facility where they work, we have been discussing this issue with them since then,” the official added.

On the production loss, Maruti Suzuki India chairman R.C. Bhargava said the halt in production will have a short-term impact on car deliveries and stocking supplies for the company’s dealers.

“Currently, dealers have enough stock of petrol-segment cars for some 28 days, while a short-term effect may be felt for some diesel variants, which in itself is only 20 percent of our entire portfolio,” he said.

The company’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 district.

Meanwhile, fate of 11 striking workers who were earlier sacked for demanding recognition of a separate workers’ union was unknown.

The Japaneses automobile giant Suzuki Motor Corporation promoted company has the largest chunk of the domestic car market with sales of 12,71,005 vehicles during fiscal 2010-11 including exports of 1,38,266 units.

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