Making an unscheduled visit to the violence-afflicted Manesar plant, Suzuki Motor Corporation chairman Osamu Suzuki addressed workers and executives of its Indian subsidiary Maruti Suzuki on Monday, apologising for the violence and praising their spirit in difficult times.
The chairman chose to visit the car plant that was the scene of July 18 violence that left one senior HR official of Maruti dead and 96 others injured.
Suzuki has asked the managers to create a better industrial environment by improving the management-worker relationship.
The situation at the Manesar plant is still tense with workers not too sure about resuming duties, fearing some kind of backlash despite the three-tier security that’s enforced in the integrated car plant.
Maruti’s Manesar plant resumed operations under heavy security by the Haryana Police’s Rapid Acton Force (RAF) that has cordoned off the entire 600-acre facility, while internal security is manned by an extensive private armed force set up by the carmaker.
This comes on the back of 500 contract workers being dismissed by the Maruti management on charges of instigating violence and perpetuating crimes within the plant last month.
Suzuki chairman had visited Gujarat last week where Maruti Suzuki plans to set up a new manufacturing unit at an investment of Rs. 4,000 crore.
He has inspected the 700-acre site apart from meeting local people over there.
Maruti plans to set up a plant for 2.5 lakh cars annually by 2015-16, besides establishing a skill development centre to meet its manpower needs.
Maruti executives said 500 Indians would be trained initially in Japan so that they get accustomed to the Japanese way of functioning. The Gujarat plant is expected to become one of the largest units of the carmaker.
The chairman expressed hope that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the violence will get to the bottom of the workers’ stir so that such incidents can be avoided in the future. He also inspected few facilities such as the weld shop and took a tour of the plant.
Maruti increased the manpower at the same plant and doubled it to 696 workers to increase its output, which has been almost half of the target of 150 cars per day. The facility currently makes DZire sub-compact sedan while the high-selling Swift hatchback production would begin with Manesar’s second plant that is likely to go on stream in the next few days.
Osamu Suzuki also visited Suzuki Motorcycle India (SMIPL) for a brief period.
This is the only facility owned by Suzuki Motor Corp that makes diesel engines in any part of the world and is proposed to be merged with Maruti Suzuki.
With the Indian carmaker gaining full control of the engine plant, Suzuki’s stake would increase to 56% from the current 54.2%.