Maruti Suzuki , India’s largest car maker, will restart production at its Manesar factory on 21 August, more than a month after a deadly riot shut the plant, costing the company tens of millions of dollars in lost output.
Maruti Suzuki chairman RC Bhargava said contract workers will no longer work in the production line in Manesar and that the process of converting contract workers into permanent staff will begin on 2 September. The company has already fired 500 permanent workers based on initial investigations.
“”We will not hire contract workers from contractors. Contract workers will be taken as permanent and we will reduce the number of contract workers gradually. There are about 500 people who have been sacked. Some of the security guards of Maruti will be armed. Three hundred workers will start working on 21 August. We will start with 150 cars a day,” said Bhargava. Total booking for Swift and Dzire models currently stand at about 1,20,000.
Bhargava added that the damage to Manesar plant was less than Rs 10 crore due to the violence.
Maruti’s automated divisions of the plant are likely to start functioning first. The Manesar plant will start will making the Swift and DZire models and production would be ramped up subsequently.
The Haryana Police will deploy a special unit at Manesar plant and the car maker will be provided with 40 personal security guards. Maruti Suzuki will also separately employ 100 security guards, who will be stationed in the actual work area on the campus.
Bhargava said that all the 96 people who had been injured in the violence have now been discharged from the hospital and some of have even joined work.
Bhargava said safety of the employees will remain the highest priority and the company with the help of Haryana government has taken several steps to ensure the security.
Bhargava said that all repair work has been completed. However, as the investigation continues, more arrests are likely.
The 550,000 vehicles-a-year factory in Manesar, Haryana, has been idle since the July 18 clash between workers and management.
On 1 August the Haryana police had arrested 10 office bearers of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union, including its President Ram Meher and General Secretary Sarabjit Singh, taking the total number of workers arrested to 114 in relation to the incident.
Maruti shares ended down about 1 percent on Thursday, underperforming a flat market. The stock has lost 4.4 percent since the riot.