India’s Maruti Suzuki shuts riot-hit car plant

Jul 21, 2012, 1:55 PM

Associated Press

NEW DELHI (AP) – India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, said Saturday it will not resume production at a factory hit by rioting during a labor dispute until an investigation is complete into the causes of the violence, which killed one executive and injured dozens of others.

The plant, one of two operated by the company in India, halted production on Wednesday night because of fire damage caused by the rioting. The company is a subsidiary of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp.

The body of Avnish Kumar, the human resources manager, was found badly charred in a conference room after the rioting. Of 90 injured managers and executives, 24 with arm and leg fractures are still being treated in hospitals, Maruti Suzuki said.

“What has happened is an absolute shocker to us,” chairman R.C. Bhargava told reporters Saturday.

Bhargava said a new wage accord was being negotiated with the workers’ union but there were no other outstanding labor issues.

He said production would not be resumed at the factory in Manesar in the north Indian state of Haryana “until we are able to identify the causes and apply correctives” to guarantee the safety of managers and workers.

The Manesar plant makes 550,000 vehicles a year, including Maruti Suzuki’s most popular cars, the Swift and the DZire.

The company said the unrest on Wednesday was sparked when a worker beat up a supervisor. It said the union prevented management from disciplining the worker, blocked exit gates and “held the executives hostage.”

The Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, in a statement Thursday, offered a different version of events, saying a supervisor had abused and made discriminatory comments to a low-caste worker.

Bhargava asked the Haryana state government to assist in investigating the violence. “We want to know the cause and who was behind it,” he said.

The Press Trust of India news agency said police have arrested 88 Maruti workers on charges including murder and damaging property.

Labor unrest is a growing concern in India, as inflation squeezes workers’ salaries. The widespread use of contract workers by companies eager to sidestep India’s strict labor laws adds to friction.

Maruti Suzuki suffered three crippling strikes in 2011 which cost it market share and blocked production of tens of thousands of vehicles.

Honda, Ford, General Motors and Hyundai, among others, have also struggled with labor unrest in India.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

A fisherman watches smoke rise after Russian forces launched a missile attack on a military unit in...
Associated Press

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters hit by drone strike

An explosive device carried by a makeshift drone blew up Sunday at the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean Peninsula.
9 days ago
Medical syringes are seen with 'Monkeypox' sign displayed on a screen in the backgound in this illu...
Associated Press

Monkeypox declared a global emergency by UN health agency

The expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that qualifies as a global emergency.
17 days ago
Chinese paramilitary policemen march in front of the Japanese embassy where the Japanese flag is fl...
Associated Press

Japan’s ex-leader Shinzo Abe assassinated during a speech

TOKYO (AP) — Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated Friday on a street in western Japan by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind as he delivered a campaign speech — an attack that stunned a nation with some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere. The 67-year-old Abe, who was Japan’s […]
1 month ago
Firefighters hose down a burning car after a strike hit a residential area, in Kramatorsk, Donetsk ...
Associated Press

Russia taking ‘operational pause’ in Ukraine, analysts say

Analysts say Russia may be taking an "operational pause" in eastern Ukraine to reassemble forces for a significant offensive.
1 month ago
Prime Minister Boris Johnson enters 10 Downing Street, after reading a statement in London, Thursda...
Associated Press

One scandal too many: British PM Boris Johnson resigns

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday after droves of top government officials quit over the latest scandal to engulf him, marking an end to three tumultuous years in which he tried to bluster his way through one ethical lapse after another. Months of defiance ended almost with a shrug as […]
1 month ago
Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
India’s Maruti Suzuki shuts riot-hit car plant