Home >Companies >Shinzo Nakanishi & SY Siddiqui | Top priority is mental recovery of our people

New Delhi: Two days after a senior official was killed and at least 100 people were injured at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s Manesar plant, the company is undecided about resuming operations at the facility. Maruti Suzuki’s managing director Shinzo Nakanishi and chief operating officer (administration) S.Y. Siddiqui, while speaking about the incident to reporters, said that if the lockout continues for long, the launch of the company’s future models would be affected. Edited excerpts:

How grim is the situation?

Assessing damage: Maruti Suzuki managing director Shinzo Nakanishi. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

What went wrong?

Assessing damage: Maruti Suzuki COO (administration) S.Y. Siddiqui. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

You had promised to form two committees for workers’ welfare?

Siddiqui: We had not promised. As per the tripartite agreement, we were supposed to make a works committee and a grievance committee as there was no union when this settlement was being worked out. It was binding on the workers because they had signed the settlement by two-third majority and we have signed on behalf of the company. The government of Haryana has signed agreeing to all the provisions being discussed. So, it was tripartite. We kept on insisting with the boys that let us complete this formality. We gave our nomination for the committees, the Haryana government gave their nominations, but they (the workers) did not gave their nominations. Then, we gave them all technical support to form their union and requested the Haryana government to allow for the union. Then the union was formed, but the boys never agreed to give their nominations. They thought those committees are farcical.

But why did the Haryana government move court against the company?

Siddiqui: It’s an agreement that if either the workers or us do not comply, we are liable to be challenged. But the problem with those boys was that the settlement was signed by people who moved out of the company and the new set of 12 boys never accepted the formation of those two committees. So, we have given our legal reply to the Haryana government. We involved even the department of labour, showing them our willingness for these committees. We kept on telling them (workers), since we have signed an agreement, we have to complete the process. The government is okay with the stand which we have depicted to them.

Do you think last year’s settlement left a lot of disgruntled workers at the plant?

Nakanishi: There was a shadow of outside influence during the strikes last year. After the settlement in October, I did not see any shadow of outside influence. We told the state government that we acknowledge these boys and, therefore, consider their application for the union. Today, if people say that there is some outside influence, then that is our mistake that we could not find out, or they have very good skill to hide.

Workers were demanding a substantial increase (in wages). Was any announcement to this effect made to workers?

Siddiqui: No. We just told them about the process, how will we be going about it, as we also wanted to involve the Gurgaon union because it’s one company and policy. In the last meeting, they had reached the financials. They asked for an increase of 16,000. Our first offer was 10,500.

Nakanishi: But wage revision has no linkage to what has happened.

How long will it take you to resume production?

Nakanishi: I want to do it as soon as possible. But without normal facility, normal manpower, normal management, I cannot. So, first we have to assess the damage and renovate the office areas. I don’t know if our IT is working or not. So, first, we will concentrate on that. And, we have to tell our dealers that, ‘sorry, our Manesar products are getting delayed, but Gurgaon products are ready’.

How difficult will it be for you to get workers? They don’t seem to be traceable.

Siddiqui: Once the investigations are complete, the message, even from our parent company, is that we must investigate but cannot compromise on violence. Many of those people, we will never accept. They (whoever has been arrested) cannot come back to this company. We will derecognize this union completely. No way we are going to accept them back in the company. To restore the confidence of our people, managers and supervisors is the top priority at the moment. The priority is their medical recovery and their mental recovery.

To a great extent, we have the capability in Gurgaon to support the operations in Manesar. We will also look at support from our vendors.

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