Deadly riot closes Indian car plant

 

Top Indian carmaker Maruti Suzuki has shut one of its two factories after rioting sparked by a labour dispute killed one person and injured dozens of others.

The plant stopped production last night because of fire damage caused by rioting workers.

"The plant is burnt in sections. You cannot make any cars," spokesman Puneep Dhawan said.

The company is still trying to identify a dead body found charred beyond recognition in a conference room, he said.

He said no decision had been taken on whether to reopen the 550,000 vehicle a year plant in Manesar, in the north Indian state of Haryana.

The company, a subsidiary of Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp, said in a statement that at least 40 managers and executives had been taken to hospital with injuries.

Labour unrest is a growing concern in India, as soaring inflation squeezes worker salaries even as mass media and conspicuous consumption stoke aspirations. The widespread use of contract workers by companies eager to side step India's strict labour laws adds to friction.

The Press Trust of India reported that police had arrested 88 Maruti Suzuki workers on charges including murder and damaging property.

According to Maruti, the unrest was sparked when a worker beat up a supervisor. The company said the union prevented management from disciplining the worker, blocked exit gates and "held the executives hostage."

After talks broke down, workers "attacked members of the senior management, executives and managers," and ransacked the property, the company said.

The Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, said in a statement that a supervisor had "abused" and made "casteist comments" against a low-caste worker.

Instead of taking action against the supervisor, management suspended the worker, the union said.

The union said management had sent in hundreds of "bouncers" to attack the workers with "sharp weapons and arms" and set fire to part of the factory.

Maruti Suzuki shares plunged 8.4% in Mumbai trade.

India's fast-growing car industry, which has attracted many foreign investors, has been at the centre of some of the highest-profile disputes. In 2008, a mob of workers at Graziano Trasmissioni India, part of the Swiss Oerlikon Group, lynched the chief executive and crushed his skull with hammers and metal bars.

Honda, Ford, General Motors and Hyundai, among others, have also struggled with labour unrest in India, but nothing as persistent or violent as the agitation at Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant.

Maruti Suzuki suffered three crippling strikes in 2011, which cost it market share and blocked production of tens of thousands of vehicles.

The Manesar plant makes Maruti Suzuki's most popular cars, the Swift and the DZire.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP & MVC Frameworks

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing company in Belvedere ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders