Maruti sacks a dozen more workers, hopes to resume production at Manesar plant

Maruti Suzuki, India's leading carmaker, sacked about a dozen workers at its Manesar plant in Haryana, taking the total number of dismissed employees to nearly 50.

The troubled Manesar plant, which produces about 300,000 out of a total of 1.3 million Maruti cars - including the hugely popular Swift - has been facing labour problems for the past few weeks. Over the past three months, production at the plant has been stopped thrice due to labour problems.

But the management claims that normal operations are expected to resume immediately at Manesar. "There has been some production activity and we should be able to scale up in next few days," said R C Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki Ltd. "We are not going to succumb to any pressure and would prefer to roll out cars on our own at the earliest."

The company's second plant, in Gurgaon, also in Haryana, is working full steam. Maruti is planning a major expansion by setting up a third plant, but considering the labour problems in Haryana, it is expected to opt for Gujarat. The company is likely to firm up a decision on the third plant over the next few months.

Bhargava and Shinzo Nakanishi, managing director, Maruti, had met Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in May, regarding the possibility of setting up a plant in the state. The company is also looking at options in Tamil Nadu.

Operations at the Manesar plant were affected for 10 days in June when a section of the workers went on a strike demanding recognition of a new union. A month later, there was a daylong strike at the plant again.