New Delhi: As the Maruti workers and management blamed each other for the unrest at the Manesar plant, almost 100 workers were arrested on Thursday. Over 1,000 policemen have now been deployed at the factory and work has been suspended indefinitely.
One person died of burn injuries and sources say 85 others were injured in a scuffle at Maruti's Manesar plant on Wednesday. A case has also been registered against 50 workers for attempt to murder and damage to property.
The workers allegedly set property on fire and ransacked the premises. Sources say that a supervisor allegedly got into an altercation with a junior worker and passed some disparaging and casteist remarks. During that altercation the worker allegedly slapped the supervisor, following which the management took the decision to suspend the worker. The other workers protested against the suspension.
While the management was meeting in the conference room, the workers stormed in and there was a physical fight. At the same time sections of workers set fire at five places in the factory including the control room and assembly line.
Work at the Manesar plant had to be stopped following the violence. The Gurgaon plant continued normally.
While reports say the scuffle was because of differences over wages, the company said, "The sequence of events began in the morning with a worker beating up a supervisor on the shop floor. The workers' union prevented the management from taking disciplinary action against the worker. They blocked the exit gates and held the executives hostage. To resolve the issue amicably, members of the senior management met the union. During the talks, the workers attacked the senior management."
On the other hand the Workers' Union hit back at the managament. In a statement, the Workers' union said, "The Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) is anguished at the recent developments in Maruti Suzuki plant, IMT Manesar where the management has resorted to anti-worker and anti-Union activities in a pre-planned manner leading to the closure of the factory yesterday."
The body of the dead will be identified only after DNA tests are done. The Commissioner of Police told CNN-IBN that two shifts of workers are involved in the agitation.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has also promised stern action against the culprits.
Meanwhile, the shares of Maruti Suzuki India tumbled more than eight per cent in morning trade on Thursday on the bourses after production at its Manesar plant got affected following the scuffle.
"It was a pre-planned attack, we weren't able to understand it at that time. After a meeting ended, they started beating us, vandalising the office, machines and even some cars," an injured Maruti Suzuki employee said.
Labour unrest is not a new phenomenon in Manesar plant which mainly produces Swift. The factory had witnessed three such instances last year causing a total production loss of about 83,000 units.