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Haryana intervenes again to end Maruti standoff

By Akshat Kaushal & Sharmistha Mukherjee
September 22, 2011 14:07 IST
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MarutiTwo days after it pulled out of talks with the management and protesting workers of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the Haryana government on Wednesday again intervened to help both the sides reach an end to the impasse.

Labour Minister Shiv Charan Lal Sharma visited Gurgaon on Wednesday to meet senior department officials to decide on the likely course of negotiations.

The talks between the two sides had broken on Sunday night after the Gurgaon police arrested three members of the unrecognised Maruti Suzuki Employee Union over charges of sabotage. They were released on bail on Tuesday.

The MSIL management and workers of the Manesar plant had been locked in a stand-off since August 29, when the management prevented workers from entering the factory premises unless they signed a 'good conduct' bond.

Sharma said if a solution did not emerge in the next couple of days, the government would refer the matter to the labour court.

After the talks broke, Haryana Labour Commissioner Satwanti Ahlawat had said the matter should be referred to the labour court to find a solution.

Sources in the labour department directly involved in the negotiations said the department was only holding 'informal talks' with the workers and management.

"There are no more any formal talks happening with any side. But we are talking to all informally," an officer said, who requested anonymity.

Ahlawat has, meanwhile, returned to Chandigarh.

D L Sachdeva,
general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, said the government had so far not initiated any talks with the unions. However, an MSIL spokesperson confirmed while no negotiations were held with the agitating workers, informal talks were on between the management and labour department officials to resolve the standoff.

The deputy commissioner of Gurgaon, P C Meena, also confirmed to this newspaper that the government was holding talks separately between the company and the protesting workers. He said the formal talks would also begin in a couple of days.

"I will hold talks between the two sides in another two days to find a solution," Meena said.

MSIL, the country's largest car maker, on Wednesday said it was looking at resuming production of small car A-Star and the premium SX4 sedan from next week.

"After exceeding the normal production levels for the Swift model yesterday, the company is planning to start production of SX4 and A-star models at the Manesar plant. The production of these models is likely to start in a week's time," the company said in a statement.

The company on Wednesday produced 625 units of the new Swift from its plants in Gurgaon and Manesar. MSIL now has 1,110 people working at its plants in Manesar.

This includes the workers hired on regular as well as on contract basis, 90 engineers deputed from the Gurgaon facility and 290 supervisors working at Manesar unit.

The company will continue to increase the number of workers at Manesar to ramp up production in the coming days.

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Akshat Kaushal & Sharmistha Mukherjee in New Delhi
Source: source

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