Maruti says talks continue as workers’ strike enters 3rd day

Maruti says talks continue as workers’ strike enters 3rd day

Mumbai: The management of India’s top carmaker Maruti Suzuki is continuing talks with striking workers at its Manesar plant, a company spokesman said, as the strike entered its third day on Tuesday, disrupting output and weighing on its shares.

About 800 workers have been on strike since Saturday at the Manesar plant in Haryana, demanding recognition for a new union. At present, Maruti has one workers’ union that is recognized by the management.

The company has already sacked 11 workers at the plant, the spokesman said.

Maruti Suzuki shares fell as much as 1.7% in early trade on Tuesday, after ending lower the previous day. At 10:24 am, the stock was down 0.9% at Rs1,221 in a flat Mumbai market.

The strike has hit production at the Manesar plant, which makes about 1,200 vehicles a day.

The production loss was estimated at Rs100 crore ($22.3 million) as of Monday, with loss of 600 to 650 units for each of the four shifts affected, the spokesman said. The company has ample stock at the plant currently, he added.

The company, 54.2%-owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp, operates two manufacturing facilities in India, housing several plants, both in the northern part of the country.

It has been looking to advance its capacity expansion plans to meet booming demand in the fast-growing south Asian country, where vehicle sales grew a record 30% in 2010.

The company plans to invest $1.3 billion over the next three years on manufacturing plants to boost capacity and has considering locations in northern and western India.