One killed, 40 injured in clashes at India Maruti plant
NEW DELHI: India’s top carmaker Maruti Suzuki has suspended production at a plant near New Delhi after workers attacked managers, leaving one person dead and more than 40 injured, a company official said Thursday.
The manager, who declined to be identified, told AFP that a burned body had been recovered from the Manesar plant’s main conference room after violence erupted late Wednesday.
“Production has been completely stopped,” he said, adding that more than 40 managers and executives had been injured.
“We have not been able to identify the deceased person as he was charred beyond recognition,” the official said.
In an earlier statement the carmaker, majority owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp., said workers had set property on fire, ransacked offices and damaged facilities.
The company said the dispute began Wednesday morning when a shop floor employee beat up a supervisor.
The workers’ union then prevented management from taking disciplinary action, blocking managers from leaving the factory after work.
A union official told the Press Trust of India that the violence had been triggered by “objectionable remarks” made by the supervisor.
Deputy police commissioner Maheshwar Dayal said 80 workers had been arrested at the factory on Wednesday night, after clashes in which nine police officers were injured.
The Manesar plant, around 50 kilometres from New Delhi, employs 2,000 people, and normally produces up to 1,200 of Maruti’s top-selling Swift and A-Star hatchbacks and SX4 sedans daily.
Shares in Maruti Suzuki dropped more than 5 per cent on Thursday after the country’s largest auto maker stopped production at one of its factories following violent clashes between workers and managers.
Any sustained shutdown of the Manesar factory in north India would be a blow for the carmaker, which lost over $500 million worth of production last year due to weeks of labour unrest at the same plant.
An extended shutdown would be a major blow for Maruti, which saw its profits slide 29 percent in 2011 on the back of a crippling labour strike and a slowdown in Asia’s third-largest auto market.
A lengthy work stoppage in October at the Manesar plant and a nearby factory in Gurgaon resulted in a production shortfall of 40,000 vehicles.