India’s biggest carmaker Maruti Suzuki will halt production of some of its popular models, including the best-selling Swift hatchback, with the ongoing strike at one of its plants disrupting supply of critical components.
The other models affected by the strike at Manesar include the latest version of its small car Alto and the mid-sized sedans Swift Dzire and SX4. Until the supply of components resumes, the company will roll out only the Maruti 800, the Eeco, the Omni and the Gypsy models which do not use components made in Manesar.
The state government, on Wednesday, declared the strike illegal and asked the agitating workers to immediately vacate the company premises. Though Maruti’s Gurgaon plant remains functional, it is operating at just over a fifth of its capacity due to shortage of components - from the Manesar-based engine and transmission maker Suzuki Powertrain India (SPIL), in particular, which has remained shut since October 7.
On Wednesday, the Gurgaon plant churned out just 600 units against its capacity of 2800. The Manesar plant, which is in the grip of labour unrest, is used to produce the Swift and the diesel engines that power the company’s most sought-after models.
Of its three car-making plants in Gurgaon, the company is likely to operate just one over the next few days. “There are several combinations being worked out to optimise production at the Gurgaon plant for the time being,” a senior executive said.
While the workers reiterated their demand that 1,100 contract labourers at the Manesar car assembly plant must be reinstated, the company refused to relent.
“The workers have broken the agreement and their weeklong siege of the premises has worsened the situation, with the parent Suzuki Motors expressing concern over Indian operations,” Maruti Suzuki India Chairman RC Bhargava said.
Rajesh Kumar, general secretary of SPIL employees union, however, said the company had failed to fulfil its part of the deal. Trade unions in the Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal industrial belt have announced plans to jointly hold a protest rally at Maruti’s Manesar plant on Thursday in support of the striking workers.