Promised worker committees yet to be set up

Maruti Suzuki has yet to close the chapter on labour issues that plagued it for much of last year. The registration of its proposed new labour union at Manesar has been delayed beyond the target timeframe of January-end.

Additionally, the two committees — Grievance Redressal Committee and Labour Welfare Committee — proposed under the October 2011 agreement between the management and workers for better future relations — are also yet to be set up.

The new union, tentatively called Maruti Suzuki Workers' Union, is now expected to be registered only by the beginning of March or February-end though the ‘verification process' has been completed by the company, multiple sources close to the development said

“About two weeks back (January-end), the report had been sent back to the Labour Department for registration in Chandigarh, but the process has yet to get the final stamp. There had been a delay in the paperwork as there were some disagreements on the leadership of the new union,” said a source.

“The matter is out of the company's hands,” a worker said , adding that the Haryana Labour Department needs to speed up the process.

Worker committees

This comes after a top member of the management had told Business Line in early-January that a new workers' union is expected to be registered by end of the same month, followed by a wage revision exercise in April-May, 2012.

When asked for an update on the matter over an email query, a Maruti spokesperson offered “no comments.”

On why the two committees have yet to be formed, a worker at the Manesar plant said the union registration needs to be completed first, only after which will any such welfare committee would be of relevance.

Asked if the workers were happy with the reported transfer of the Manesar plant head and a few other officials, a worker refused to comment, adding, “Who are we to decide who works in which plant? It is the company's decision.”

Maruti Suzuki lost around 83,000 units of production and Rs 2,500 crore worth of revenue in 2011 on a 33-day, three-phase strike over a new union at its second facility at Manesar that first began in June. Initially, the company opposed the Union plan citing outside political interests, but after bidding goodbye to about 30 workers with voluntary retirement packages in October, agreed to support a second union.

roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 21, 2012)
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