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The case of the the recent vandalism and arson at the Manesar Plant of Maruti Suzuki. What actually is being manufactured at the plant now?

Tension is still brewing in the Manesar Plant of Maruti Suzuki in Haryana, India.

Following the suspension of Jiya Lal who had allegedly misbehaved with his supervisor, the Worker Union at the plant got agitated and demanded his immediate reinstation. Several rounds of meeting were being held between the union representatives and the state labour department. In one such meeting on Wednesday, July 18th, there occurred some misunderstanding between the management and the union. The management tried to defer the meeting to thrusday morning. The procrastination angered the workers who resorted to widespread vandalism of the plant premises, pushing around the company officials and finally setting the plant afire. Though the fire was brought under control by the fire department, there was much damage and as many as 100 were found injured. But the issue got intensified when the charred remains of a body was found in the plant and which was later identified as a general manager of the plant. Many workers, with the no. going upto 97 so far, were arrested related to charges of rioting and murder, though most of the workers have gone underground. The Maruti plant has been shut down since then as the senior management does not want to further risk any more lives till the issue is fully investigated and settled, as declared by Chairman R.C. Bhargava and MD and CEO, Shinzo Nakanishi on July 22nd. They also denied claims of Maruti moving out of Manesar. Meanwhile, the workers issued a statement accusing the management of initiating the violence.

Manesar plant builds about 5.5 lakh cars per annum which accounts for about a third of the total production. Among the cars built at the facility are the best selling Maruti Swift, Swift Dzire, SX4, A star and almost all of its diesel cars. The production would be shifted to the Gurgaon plant for the time being, which produces about 10 lakh cars a year. However many of the models like Dzire and Swift can only be built at the Manesar plant.

             

Its not the first time that this plant has faced labour issues. In fact, the worker-management relations in the plant have been strained for a long time now. Last year, the facility had a loss of $500 million due to prolonged strikes by the workers and shut down of production. The union had demanded increased wages and other benefits. There was still discussions and meetings going on though the management declared that there were no outstanding issues left unresolved from previous strikes. However, the workers maintain their accusation of the management not caring about the workers at all. 

Nevertheless, the present scenerio of violence at such a large plant in the time of inflation paints a very bad picture of both the company, which is sure to suffer abyssmally in the stock market, as well as the public which got instigated to cause such widespread vandalism at a spark of disagreement.

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