Maruti Suzuki has begun production of its best-selling ‘Swift’ hatchback from its strike-crippled Manesar plant in Haryana, the company said on Tuesday. The carmaker rolled out 350 units of ‘Swift’ from the plant that was shut for 10 days following a sit-in protest by employees demanding reinstatement of 1,100 casual workers. Workers had started moving out of the factory on Friday following a court order, which enabled Maruti to resume partial production at the plant on Monday.
“The entire focus is to get the production normalised. We have over one lakh Swift customers waiting and we want to deliver the cars as soon as possible,” a company official said. Between the Gurgaon and the Manesar plants, the company produced 480 Swift cars on Tuesday.
The Gurgaon plants were able to raise output by 50 units to 1,750 vehicles, against its capacity of 2,800 cars a day. Production at the plants was affected due restricted supply of diesel engines and transmission from Suzuki Powertrain India, an affiliate.
Three strikes at carmaker since June have cost it a production loss of about 60,000 cars. The company held two more rounds of talks with the agitating workers on Tuesday. “There was a round of meeting in the morning and one in the evening. There are positive signs from the negotiations, but it”s too early to comment which way the talks end,’ people close to the development said.
The company has a booking order of over 110,000 Swift cars. Low production has pushed its waiting period to five to six months.
On Tuesday, Maruti strengthened the workforce at its Manesar plant to 400 and said it had repaired and made operational the weld and press shops it claimed were damaged by workers. Partial production has also started at Suzuki Powertrain, whose employees had joined the stir in support.
The carmaker produces its ‘Swift’ and A-Star hatchbacks and the SX4 sedan at Manesar, while its Gurgaon plants bring out the Alto, Swift DZire, Wagon-R, Eeco and Ritz models.
People close to the development said Suzuki Powertrain has started hiring fresh workforce to ramp up supplies to Maruti. The company’s board has sought a report on the labour unrest and will review its findings at a meeting later this month.