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Maruti July car sales positive despite Manesar lockdown: Workers Union GS speaks on workers violence

Despite being bogged down by strike, strife, violence and lockouts at Maruti Suzuki Manesar plant since 18th July, the company sales have done exceedingly well in the past month. Sales were up 9.2% for July 2012 with the company dispatching 82,234 units as compared to 75,300 units in July 2011. Domestic sales alone stood at 71,024 units during the month while this figure was only at 66,504 in the same month in the previous year.

Much of this success could be attributed to popularity of company compact sedan Dzire of which 11,413 units were sold while sales of M800, Alto, WagonR and A Star showed a decline by 23.7% as figures stood at 28,998 units. Sales of Maruti Suzuki SX4 saw a 70.5% dip in demand as sales stood at only 679 units in July 2012 and while the company expected much from their luxury sedan Kizashi they managed to sell only 2 units. Exports were also equally positive for the month of July 2012. Numbers were up 27.4% with the company dispatching 11,210 units in July 2012 as compared to 8,796 units in July 2011.

The company is now contemplating what to do next where their plant at Manesar is concerned. It was recently announced that workers will not be receiving their salary for July period of lockout. Monthly wages for the period prior to the incident will be paid to workers only after the lockout is lifted and the plant starts functioning as normal.

On the other hand, Kuldeep Jhangu, General Secretary, Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union (MUKU), in an interview with TOI, said , “I feel that the Maruti management and the Haryana government are equally responsible (for the July 18 episode). The Haryana government should have been speaking regularly to the boys at Manesar after last year’s strikes at the plant. While the one who commits suicide is wrong, but who forces him to do so is also equally responsible for the crime. Similarly , in Maruti’s Manesar case, it has to be found out that why were the conditions so bad that the boys (workers) became so violent . Those who led to this situation at the plant are also equally responsible.”

He also said that in order to get to the root of this problem, instead of the SIT, a CBI probe should be ordered. “SIT may not be able to go deep into the issues. The Haryana Police can only arrest innocent workers. They are only doing a perfunctory job. I hear that those caught so far are innocent . They should arrest only those against whom they have proof,” he added.

“While I agree that those who indulge in violence should be held liable, but there is also a need to find out who created the conditions that made the workers act that way. Factory workers normally do not do this if they get proper facilities and money from the company. Why would they lift arms? To dismiss the union is wrong and I am against it. Maruti management should be bothered about running the company, not the labour union.”

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