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Maruti fine with new union

Last updated on: June 13, 2011 11:39 IST

Maruti fine with new union

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Surajeet Das Gupta & Priyanka Singh in New Delhi

The Maruti Suzuki management on Sunday accepted the demand of the striking workers of its Manesar plant to form a separate union.

However, it has added some stiff riders -- the union cannot be affiliated to any political party or have outsiders as members.

And, on many issues such as wages, it will have to work with the existing union, which those on strike say represents interests of those working at the company's Gurgaon plant.

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The proposal envisages two plant-level unions -- one representing Gurgaon workers and the other Manesar workers.

However, four top members of each of the two unions will form a governing council which will deal with the management on company-level issues such as wages.

The individual unions will deal with plant-level issues.

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Image: Maruti 800.
Photographs: Reuters
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Maruti fine with new union

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S Y Siddiqui, the head of human resources, said: "We are ready to be flexible on their demand for a plant-level union.

"However, it has to comprise only those working at the plant. It cannot have outsiders. That is how Maruti has been run for 27 years."

"Four members of this proposed union and that of the Gurgaon union can from a governing council to deal with issues at the company level," he said.

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Image: A car manufacturing unit.

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Siddiqui, however, said the company would not take back the 11 workers who were sacked for allegedly instigating the strike.

The no-work-no pay policy would continue, though the penalty might be lowered, he said.

Under rules, a company can deduct eight days salary for each day's absence if the strike is illegal.

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Image: Maruti SX4.
Photographs: Reuters
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The management is thinking of reducing the penalty to four days.

The management and the state government have declared the strike as illegal.

The workers said no such proposal had been made yet.

Shiv Kumar, general secretary of the proposed union, said, "We will not have any partnership with the Gurgaon union. We want a completely separate union. And we will not accept anything less than reinstatement of the sacked workers."

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Image: Maruti Swift.

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Asked if the All India Trade Union Congress, leading the agitation, would accept a union without outsiders, General Secretary V L Sachdeva said: "It's for the workers to decide".

Talks between the two sides are expected on Monday.

The strike by the 2,500 workers entered its ninth day.

The production loss due to the strike has been 9,000 cars worth Rs 340 crore (Rs 3.4 billion) to date.

The proposed constitution of the new union allows one-third members from outside.


Image: A motorcycle drives past new Maruti cars outside a New Delhi showroom.
Photographs: Sunil Malhotra/Reuters
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