Lockout at violence hit Maruti Manesar plant

New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki today declared a lockout at the violence-hit Manesar plant, stating it cannot risk life and safety of its employees. "There is now a lockout. To me, what is more important is safety of my colleagues than producing some cars to make some money," Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Chairman R C Bhargava said at a press conference here.

MSI General Manager(HR) Awanish Kumar Dev was burnt to death and about 90 officials and supervisors were injured when violence broke out at Manesar plant in Haryana on July 18. He said production will not resume till investigation into the incident is completed and corrective steps are taken to ensure that there is no recurrence of violence which came as "shocker" to the company.

Whether there was any plan to shift the production facility to an alternate site, he said, "Talks of Maruti unit moving out of Manesar is an absolute fiction…. We are not moving the plant out of Manesar. Maruti is flag-bearer of industrialisation in Haryana." As Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Japan from tomorrow, there was speculation that MSI might shift the Manesar facility to Gujarat where it has already announced expansion plans.

With about 3,000 workforce, the Manesar plant produces some of the best selling models. The vehicles produced there include SX4, Swift, Dzire and A-Star. Bhargava said the MSI management has requested the Haryana Government to expedite the inquiry into the incident. Besides, the company will have its own probe.

Asked whether some workers involved in the incident can be taken back, he said,"if guys are no risks they can be taken back; if they are cause of trouble, they cannot come back". Asked how long the lockout will continue he said, "Maruti is not closed… we will be very inefficient if we take six months. I don`t think we are that bad…we will start at Manesar ".