New Delhi: Suzuki Motor Corp. chairman Osamu Suzuki has asked managers to find out why violence broke out at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s Manesar plant on 18 July and resolve the issue through talks, according to three people familiar with the development.

Suzuki, on a week-long visit to India, met Maruti’s senior management and representatives of its Gurgaon plant union on Thursday.

At both meetings, Suzuki reiterated that his firm was committed to working closely with Indians as he has a high regard for their work ethic, according to a senior official who was present.

His annual visit to attend Maruti’s annual general meeting (AGM) comes in the wake of the violence at the Manesar plant that left one senior company official dead and at least 100 injured, forcing it into a month-long lockout. The AGM is on 28 August.

Maruti reopened the Manesar plant amid heavy security on 21 August. The lockout led to a production loss of 1,500 crore or 35,000 cars (Swift, Dzire, SX4 and A-star models).

Chairman Suzuki is expected to meet Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Suzuki will also inspect the land on which Maruti’s new plant is to be built in Gujarat.

Since the violence, Maruti has sacked at least 550 workers, including at least 150 who are in judicial custody.

“We raised this issue in the meeting and requested him not to sack workers," said Kuldeep Janghu, general secretary of Maruti’s Gurgaon plant union. “He said the company cannot work with those who are under judicial custody. About the rest, the matter will be taken up for discussion."

Mint couldn’t independently verify this.

“While the union did raise this issue, Suzuki advised them to talk to the Maruti management," said S.Y. Siddiqui, Maruti’s chief operating officer (administration).

Siddiqui was present at the meeting with workers along with Maruti managing director Shinzo Nakanishi and chief operating officer, production, M.M. Singh.

Shares of Maruti lost 0.27% to close at 1,179.90 on BSE on Thursday, on a day the exchange’s benchmark Sensex rose 0.02% to 17,850.22 points.

The car maker’s shares have risen significantly from a low of 1,073.11 on 23 July at the peak of the crisis.

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