Maruti Suzuki on Monday opened talks with agitating workers, the first dialogue since the protesters vacated its plant at Manesar on Friday. The move came on a day when the company began limited production at its Gurgaon and Manesar plants.
Although the talks brokered by the Haryana government remained inconclusive, it raised hopes of an early resolution to the 11-day-old strike. Last week, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the protesting workers to leave the factory premises.
The country’s largest carmaker was able to roll out 1,700 vehicles from its Gurgaon plants, against its normal capacity of 2,800 units.
“We have started production in a limited way at the Manesar plant,” a company spokesman said, adding that production had also begun at the Gurgaon plants that were shut for two days last week due to disruption of supplies of engines from Suzuki Powertrain India, an affiliate whose workers supported the stir.
Maruti aims to roll out its Eeco, M-800 and Alto models initially from its Gurgaon plants, which also make their critical parts. At Manesar, Maruti will also ready body shells of its popular models for which engines are made at Suzuki Powertrain.
Investors cheered the news and the company’s stock bounced back on Monday to close 2.39 percent up on the Bombay Stock Exchange at Rs 1,053.05. The stock had touched its 52-week low on Friday. Three strikes at Maruti since June have cost the country’s largest carmaker a production loss of about 60,000 cars. The agitation has also hit component makers in a domino effect, eroding their revenue by 15-20 percent, according to an estimate.
A workers’ representative said the strike would continue until Maruti relents. “We have upped the ante against the Maruti management, which broke the October 1 agreement by not allowing 1,100 casual workers to resume duty,” said Maruti Suzuki Employees Union president Sonu Gujjar. The union, not recognized by Maruti, is spearheading the protests.
Maruti’s shares have tanked 16 percent since the start of the first strike on June 13. The carmaker produces Swift, A-Star and the SX4 at Manesar.