Fuelling fears that the strike at Maruti Suzuki's Manesar could spark wider unrest the Gurgaon-Manesar auto hub, about 50,000 workers from the industrial belt commenced a two-hour tools-down strike today in support of the Maruti workers.
Despite the state labour commissioner's request to the 50 or 60 unions involved not to go ahead with their tools-down strike, workers in up to 65 factories in the area stopped work.
Meanwhile, losses continue to mount for Maruti as the strike entered 11th day on Tuesday. Production losses had mounted to 9,000 units on Monday, with the financial loss estimated at over Rs450 crore.
"The situation is the same as yesterday. The strike is continuing and production at the plant is stopped," a company spokesperson told PTI.
The second round of talks between the striking employees and the management broke down on Monday but Maruti's management said it will continue the dialogue. The workers are demanding recognition of their union and the reinstatement of 11 workers who were fired for inciting others to go on strike.
The company had so far agreed to sanction the new union and take back six of the sacked workers, but remained adamant on the other five. However, reports today suggest that the management may be prepared to climb down further and reinstate the five as well.
The striking workers are also not prepared to be part of Maruti Suzuki's proposed governing council. They say they have no problem with the management's silence on recognising their union in the settlement, and will carry on with the procedure of registering a separate union with the labour department.
The All-India Trade Union Congress, which is leading the agitation from outside along with other unions such as the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, said, "The tools-down strike has started and workers from about 60-65 factories' workers are taking part.''
AITUC secretary D L Sachdev said, ''If in a day or two, no solution comes out, then workers will go on for a full-day strike."
CITU Haryana state president Satvir Singh said a meeting between the state government officials, company management and workers is expected on Tuesday and if nothing positive happens, 'we will intensify our agitation'.