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Maruti Suzuki workers end plant sit-in but strike still on

By Motortrend India Staff   |   16 October,2011

Striking workers ended their eight-day occupation of a plant belonging to, Maruti Suzuki, but the two sides remained at loggerheads, the company said Saturday.

The 1,500 workers took control of the Manesar plant in northern India belonging to Japanese-controlled Maruti Suzuki in a bitter labour dispute that has cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in lost output.

“The strikers left the plant late last night (Friday). It went peacefully. No force was used but they are continuing their agitation,” a Maruti spokesman, who asked not to be named in line with company policy, told AFP.

The workers halted their more than week-long sit-in after police moved into the factory earlier on Friday to enforce a court ruling ordering the employees to vacate the plant where tensions have been high since June.

“We have decided to honour the High Court order and so we are vacating the premises. However, we will continue our agitation outside the factory gate,” the president of the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union Sonu Gujjar said.

The workers were now camped 100 metres (yards) from the plant.

The dispute has brought output at the car company, 54.2 per cent owned by Suzuki Motor Corp, to a total halt on Friday.

Maruti sells nearly one out of every two cars in the country, credited with revolutionising transport in India by making affordable cars for a burgeoning middle class.

Production at Maruti's plant in nearby Gurgaon, outside the national capital New Delhi, ceased on Friday due to parts shortages caused by sympathy strikes at other Suzuki-owned factories in the area.

Work stoppages have cost Maruti at least 17.50 billion rupees ($356.5 million) in lost output since June, the company spokesman said.

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