Workers at Maruti Suzuki’s plant supplying engines for its best-selling models have deliberately slowed production to protest unsatisfactory resolution to the recent labour unrest, spelling further trouble for the country’s biggest carmaker.
Output has dropped to 60 percent at the company’s vendor Suzuki Powertrain India Ltd (SPIL), which is its sole supplier of diesel engines, since the 13-day strike ended on October 19. This means a further delay in delivery of models such as the diesel-driven Suzuki hatchback and the midsized Suzuki Dzire, the backlog for which already stretches over nine months.
The SPIL workers are peeved at the management’s failure to reinstate their three union functionaries and arrive at a final settlement to their due wage revision. SPIL is owned 70 percent by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp and the rest by Maruti Suzuki India.
“There have been no proactive steps from the SPIL management to speedily address workers’ issues and sort out the matter at the earliest,” Subey Singh Yadav, president of the workers’ union said.
Yadav said the pending inquiry against him and two of his colleagues is unlikely to foster trust between the management and the workers. “It’s a management-led process. Much cannot be expected in terms of transparency or impartial inquiry,” he said. The SPIL management refused to comment.
The workers say they had initially planned to continue their strike on demands of immediate reinstatement of Yadav and the others, but were swayed by management’s assurances of a lenient action. “All workers stand by the basic demand of getting back all their leaders.
The SPIL management has been apprised of the situation to settle all pending issues at the earliest,” Netra Pal Singh, who assembles engines on SPIL’s shop floor said, refusing to rule out strikes in future.
The workers at SPIL do not foresee a situation similar to Maruti Suzuki’s car plant in Manesar, where the entire team of 30 workers resigned and took severance package of at least Rs 16 lakh each last week.
The workers at the Manesar car plant had adopted a similar go-slow policy which led to a sharp decline in production to almost half, which prompted the company to enforce the Good Conduct Bond that led to the 33-day strike.
SPIL, with an annual capacity of three lakh engines and transmission, is critical to Maruti Suzuki because frequent petrol price hikes have led to a steep increase in demand for diesel-driven cars.