Maruti Suzuki India on Tuesday admitted that the company needs to learn how to deal with a young workforce as it grapples with frequent labour issues at its Manesar plant.
The company, which has witnessed three prolonged labour issues at the plant this year, including the ongoing strike, also blamed inexperienced workers for the trouble, saying they need to “have some respect for law”.
“When you look at this entire situation, then we admit (there is a need) for us to bring in adaptability in a young population that is very, very young,” Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Managing Executive Officer (Administration) S Y Siddiqui told reporters on the sidelines of a CII HR Summit in New Delhi.
He said the average age of the Manesar plant workers is roughly about 24-25 years.
“I think somewhere some learning for us also (is required) on how to deal with the young people... In that sense, maybe some more education should have been there from our side,” Siddiqui added.
Admitting that with better understanding, the gaps could have been addressed earlier, he said: “Perhaps, going forward... (the emphasis will be) on more education of workers. It is a question of how you create an environment and how you adapt to it. It is a two-way process.”
He, however, said the young workers are also equally responsible for the ongoing problems. Siddiqui said out of a total employee population of 9,100 people in MSI, “We have a specific problem with 1,500 people.”
“I think definitely, it must be somewhere more from the side of the young inexperienced workers and I think it is typically a question of capability to adjust and adapt and have some respect for law,” he said.
The first labour strike at MSI”s Manesar plant in June this year lasted for 13 days. This was followed by a 33-day-long standoff from August 29-October 1. The latest strike broke out on October 7.
The workers have demanded recognition of their union, the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union, which was rejected by the management. They are also demanding the reinstatement of 1,200 casual workers and all permanent workers dismissed or suspended during the different stirs.