New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) on Tuesday admitted it needs to improve management-worker relationship in the aftermath of violence at its Manesar plant.

"The management and the workers need to improve relationship," MSI Chairman R C Bhargava said here at the company's Annual General Meeting.

The violence at its Manesar plant last month in which a senior official was killed and 100 others injured, cast a shadow on MSI's 31st AGM which was also attended by Osamu Suzuki, Chairman of the company's parent, Suzuki Motor Corp.

Bhargava, who led shareholders in observing a minute's silence in the memory of slain General Manager (HR) Awanish Kumar Dev before the proceedings of the 31st AGM, expressed hope that the firm would resume full scale production at the Manesar plant soon.

"Manesar plant violence was pre-meditated. It was unprecedented, not only in the history of MSI, but also in the industrial relations history of India," Bhargava said.

He, however, stressed that to the management there were no "ostensive reasons" for the violence and at the time of the incident "there was no pending demand from the union".

Recollecting Dev's contribution to the company, he said: "Awanish was a very dedicated HR Manager. He had a very good relation with union and it is an irony of fate that he was killed by workers."

On restoration of normal production at the plant, Bhargava said, "We do hope to restore full production in a reasonable period of time." However, he did not specify a timeline.

Reiterating the company's commitment to Haryana, Bhargava said: "Suzuki is supportive of Maruti and we will continue operations in Manesar, (there will be) no cut back in planned investments."
He said Osamu Suzuki has met Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and requested him to find the cause of the violence at Manesar, and Hooda has promised to do so.

Commenting on the security of the plant, Bhargava said: "We will continue to have security at the Manesar plant till the time our people feel secure and think that it can be done away with it."

Haryana is providing security to MSI at the plant and the company has also deployed its own security guards.

On worker attendance since the lifting of the lockout on August 21, he said: "700 workers have reported so far and contract workers are being regularised. We will make additional recruitment to replace 500 odd permanent workers, who have been asked not to come back."

Before the incident, the total number of workers at the plant was around 3,300. Of these, 1,528 were permanent.

MSI is investing Rs 2,600 crore to set up a new diesel engine plant, expand capacities and R&D activities in Haryana by 2014. It is also putting in Rs 4,000 crore in Gujarat for a new car manufacturing plant.


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