Today, August 21st, Maruti Suzuki reopened its Manesar plant under a heavy police presence.
The automaker opened the plant after it was closed more than a month due to a violent riot, which cause a loss of over $250 million. The facility, which manufactures the Suzuki Swift hatchback, was opened just in time for India’s festival season when people usually make expensive purchases. The Manesar plant was reopened with police officers guarding the gate and other 1,200 deployed inside the factory.
The initial production will be of 150 cars daily, which is less than 10% of the average daily output before the riot began on July 18th, which led to the death of a manager and the injury of over 100 people. The riot started after months of negotiations between the automaker and the labor union concerning the increase of salaries. The best paid manufacturing workers at Manesar plant earn 25,000 rupees ($450) a month, but 1,500 of them earn less than half of that as they were working on temporary contracts.
“We have identified people who we believe were involved in the violence and we have lost confidence in these workers and they cannot be taken back. We intend to start step by step. We believe these measures will create a safe environment and so we have decided to lift the lockout,” said company Chairman R.C. Bhargava several days ago.