Temporary workers at Maruti’s Manesar unit protest after wage hike to permanent workers

Two days after Maruti Suzuki hiked wages of its on roll 13,000 factory workers by Rs 16,800, a few hundreds of unhappy temporary workers today protested outside the company’s Manesar plant seeking a salary increase. Police had to intervene to bring the situation under control and a couple of workers were arrested and released later on. The management is learned to have assured the workers that their wage revision will be discussed and settled in priority. Work was not affected at the plant and workers were pacified after an assurance from the management.

Incidentally, Manesar happens to be the same plant that witnessed the worst outbreak of labour violence in Maruti Suzuki’s history of over three decades. In July 2012, a senior human resource executive was killed and scores of officers injured at the same plant.

Kuldeep Janghu, general secretary of the Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union said there were 800-900 temporary workers at the Manesar plant. “These are employed for about seven months in a year. About 200-300 of them had gathered to protest today morning. Work is going on at a normal pace”, he said.

These workers draw a gross salary of Rs 15,000 a month against a salary of Rs 38,000 to 40,000 that a permanent worker will get after the latest hike. The wages of temporary workers are not increased for a three year period as it happens for the permanent ones. The last hike for these temporary workers happened in early 2014.

Maruti is estimated to employ a total of 2,700 temporary workers across its two vehicle manufacturing plants at Manesar and Gurgaon. Contractual workers form a significant force in auto and auto component industries to take care of the cyclical and seasonal demand. Recently, passenger vehicle maker Nisaan decided to cut a few hundred temporary jobs at its Chennai plant and said their services will be used again as and when there is a demand.

On Thursday evening, the management of Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest car maker, entered into a wage revision agreement with the workers’ unions at its three facilities at Haryana. According to the agreement, workers will get a rise of Rs 8,430 a month for this financial year, with retrospective effect from April. For the second and third years, the increase will be of Rs 4,200 each. However, the combined raise of Rs 16,800 a month spread over three years is seven per cent lower than the salary rise of Rs 18,000 given by the company for the three years ended March this year.


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