INDIA: Maruti Suzuki raises supplier impact as Manesar lock-out continues
Maruti Suzuki India says it has sought assurances from Haryana regional government its riot-wracked Manesar site will be totally safe before any production can resume and concedes the factory lock-out could heavily impact local suppliers.
The complex in northern India was attacked by a rampaging mob last week, with one senior manager losing his life and dozens of others hospitalised with serious injuries as rioters set fire to offices in an as-yet unknown dispute.
Maruti has imposed a lock-out on the 3,000 staff, who currently languish at home without pay and is also ruling out transferring production to its nearby Gurgaon site some 25km from Manesar as the factory is already saturated with work.
The Manesar factory assembles Maruti's top-selling Swift and Dzire models, producing around 1,600 vehicles worth US$12.5m a day, according to analysts, but the shut-down is sure to send jitters through Indian suppliers, many of whom are located in a nearby automotive industrial park.
"Suppliers will get impacted as we are not buying the material from them," a Maruti Suzuki India spokesman told just-auto from Delhi. "They are also living in the same [geographical] environment and the fear is bothering them also.
"Many suppliers are near Manesar as Manesar is in the automobile industrial area - several of them have factories near there."
The automaker's concerns have seen it shutter the plant completely, but such is the climate of fear stalking the site, it has asked the State government to step in.
"The company's management met the Chief Minister of Haryana and we have asked specifically that unless the ground situation is safe and secure...for the workers it will be important to make it absolutely safe before we can think of production," the Maruti spokesman said.
"It is for the State government to give guidance on that. The other thing is the government has appointed a renowned criminal lawyer, KTS Tulsi, to complete and strengthen the legal procedures."
Maruti adds the number of staff remaining in hospital is now just ten, but noted it was more concerned with workers scarred mentally by the incident, rather than "bandages and plasters."
"We are not looking at the number [of] physical injuries, but the mental trauma and the psychological thing of seeing such barbaric things," said the spokesman.
The Manesar plant has endured years of torrid industrial unrest, but Maruti insists nothing has ever come close to the violence of recent weeks.
"The industrial unrest [which] took place last year was totally different," said the Maruti spokesman. "We are talking about a criminal act of violence and arson against people who are not armed.
"This is hard core arson and violence."