Maruti managers to decide co-workers, unions protests

Maruti managers to decide co-workers, unions protests

Maruti Suzuki has authorised its managers and supervisors to recruit workers they consider trustworthy as part of a new human resource policy aimed at building confidence between the management and workers, and restarting operations at the Manesar plant.

The policy has been formulated after violence erupted on July 18, 2012, which claimed the life of a senior official, resulted in injuries to 96 supervisors and managers, and led to a lock-out of the unit.

"The decision on the new strategy for selecting lower staff was taken after the resignations of a few managers from their job after the July 18 violence. The resignations are not something the top management wanted. Hence, they have provided power to the management to choose workers of their choice," a senior Maruti Suzuki official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

The workers unions have condemned the move, calling it biased and unfair.

"The legality of the new policy should be verified, as industrial laws are very stringent on employment and labour rights protection," Satbir Singh, head of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Haryana, told IANS, adding that steps like these will lead to further deterioration in labour-management relations.

Commenting about junior managers leaving the company, S.Y. Siddique, chief operating officer, administration, said their resignations won't make much difference.

"A few youngsters left. It won't make any difference. Our finest engineers and managers are with us. All the 96 injured managers and supervisors are ready to rejoin their positions," Siddique said.

The company has sent termination notices to 500-odd workers, including the 154 who have been arrested for indulging in violence on July 18, 2012.

"We have sent notices terminating services of workers in whom the company has lost confidence. These workers have violated the terms of the good conduct bond that was signed by them last year. Some of these workers also have criminal charges against them," said R.C. Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki.

The auto major had 3,300 workers employed at the Manesar plant before violence erupted. Of these, 1,528 were permanent and the remaining 1,869 were contractual.
The company plans to employ casual workers as permanent employees. The auto maker will hire 20 percent of its total workforce on short-term contracts.

Ram Kumar, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) general secretary, demanded that all workers should be taken back immediately and without any bias.

"We are of the view that all workers, irrespective of the fact whether they were on rolls or casual workers, should be immediately taken back into the company. Work should start at the plant. This new policy is detrimental in resolving the issue," Kumar said.

The company has announced it would restart production at the plant from Aug 21, 2012 and produce only 150 cars daily to begin with.

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