Suzuki Motorcycle suspends two over clash

Even as the threat of a workers' strike looms large over Hero MotoCorp's Gurgaon plant, labour trouble seems to be spreading further within the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt. Two workers at Suzuki Motorcycle's Gurgaon plant, one of whom is a union office-bearer, have been suspended after an altercation and a fight with a factory supervisor last week.

While Suzuki Motorcycle officials claimed that production has not been impacted since the incident, the Suzuki Motorcycle India Employees' Union (SMIEU) has written to the Haryana labour department at Chandigarh on the matter, expecting a meeting with the labour officials on February 22. The two suspended workers are Pradeep Kumar and SMIEU general secretary Avinesh Kumar.

"A worker (Pradeep) in the weld shop had complained about defects on bike frames to his superior (manager) on February 12. After that the supervisor in charge of the frames came to the worker asking why he is complaining to others, and a fight ensued. The union member also came in support of the same worker, following which the company issued suspension letters to both the worker and the union member on the same day," an SMIEU office bearer told FE.

Meanwhile, the two-wheeler maker reportedly also started an internal enquiry into the incident to ascertain the root cause of the altercation, though it has not suspended the supervisor involved in the clash. "Production is running as normal and the management is yet to decide on what to do with the suspension of the workers," a Suzuki official in charge of the Gurgaon factory operations said.

Added another worker affiliated to SMIEU, "The government and the company management doesn't try to get to the bottom of the problem every time such a fight occurs. Workers are always blamed straight away. We will wait for the labour department's response before we take any action. We want peace."

This incident follows another in 2011 when three workers were suspended by Suzuki Motorcycle after the union went on strike to support the strike by workers at Maruti Suzuki's nearby Manesar plant who were demanding registration of their own union at the time. However, this suspension was revoked after a while.

Labour trouble has had an uncomfortable association with the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt and it has only heightened in the recent times.

The extreme case had been the July 18, 2012, violence at Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant that claimed the life of a company official and injured 96 others.

Maruti also saw sporadic strikes at the plant between June and October, 2011. Meanwhile, labour disputes have also taken place across Honda Motorcycle's Manesar plant, component makers Rico Auto and Sunbeam Auto. Even Hero MotoCorp's ongoing wage talks at its Gurgaon plant now threaten to spiral into a strike after around six months of negotiations.

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