Maruti Suzuki India defended its move of asking the workers at its Manesar facility to sign a ‘Good Conduct Bond' stating that “it was done strictly in accordance with the standing orders of the company, certified by the Haryana Government”.

The assertion was made by the company's Chairman, Mr R.C. Bhargava, on Thursday. He was countering the Labour and Employment Minister, Mr Mallikarjun Kharge's recent statement in Parliament.

On Monday, Mr Kharge had said: “Demanding of good conduct bonds from workers as per conditions before allowing them to resume work is an arbitrary act and it also amounts to unfair labour practice as given in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.”

Mr Bhargava said: “The comments of the Haryana Government and our company were not taken into account before framing the Minister's statement in Parliament. We are in the process of communicating with the Minister to understand where we have gone wrong.”

“The company's standing orders make it mandatory for us to make workers sigh the Good Conduct Bond in case workers resort to go-slows, intermittent work or sabotage. Both the workers and the company are a signatory to these standing orders, which are also approved and certified by the State Government,” he added.

Price hike likely

The company also announced a possible price hike early next year given the growing pressure on its margins.

Maruti's Managing Executive Officer (Marketing and Sales), Mr Mayank Pareek, said: “We are considering a price hike in January as the company's margins are feeling the pressure owing to the exchange currency issue. We have to do something to offset the impact of the depreciating rupee especially vis-à-vis the Japanese yen which is making our imports expensive.”

He, however, did not specify other details such as the quantum of price hike and whether it will be for the entire range of models or some select ones.

Owing to the labour unrest at its Manesar facility and the overall negative sentiment in the auto industry with rising petrol prices and interest costs, Maruti Suzuki registered a domestic sales drop of 19.32 per cent in November.

(This article was published on December 1, 2011)
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