Police officers visiting the riot-affected Maruti factory at Manesar
INDIA’S top carmaker Maruti Suzuki may resume production in late August at a factory closed last month after a deadly riot by workers, a company executive said on Sunday (August 12).
The company’s board is likely to meet on Monday (August 13) to consider a reopening date for the plant where a manager was killed and 96 other supervisors were injured in the unrest, the senior executive added.
Late August may be “a realistic target” for relaunching operations at the Manesar factory just south of New Delhi which has been shut since the violence on July 18, the executive told reporters.
“Some reports from the police and special investigations are likely to come to Maruti on Monday and some decisions are likely to come afterwards,” the executive, who did not wish to be named, added.
He could not say when an announcement might be made but noted repairs are already under way at the plant where mainly the office areas were damaged, not the factory facilities.
Maruti is majority-owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor which receives more than a quarter of its revenues from India.
The Indian unit, the country’s largest carmaker by sales, is losing some $9m (£5.74m) a day from the plant shutdown, analysts calculate.
The board will review security at the plant, which produces some of Maruti’s best-selling cars such as the Swift hatchback, as well as its physical state, the executive told reporters.
Maruti locked out its 3,000 workers at the plant which produces 550,000 cars a year, or 40 per cent of the company’s output, three days after the riot.
The plant has experienced several industrial disputes but none as violent as the July riot which shocked corporate India.
Maruti chief executive Shinzo Nakanishi has said the plant will stay shut until the managers’ safety can be guaranteed and some executives have voiced fears about returning.
Managers who were injured “are receiving psychological and physical treatment,” said the Maruti executive on Sunday. “The healing process is going on.”
The plant is only expected to resume partial operations at first, using its most automated assembly lines, and then scale up operations.
Staffing could be difficult with many workers having fled as they fear arrest. Police say 114 workers including at least 10 union leaders are already under arrest.
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