Car production resumes at India’s Maruti Suzuki

MUMBAI, August 31, 2011 (AFP) – India’s largest car maker by sales Maruti Suzuki said it restarted production at one of its plants on Wednesday after locking workers out in a dispute over alleged sabotage earlier this week. “Maruti started assembly operations in Manesar, rolling out the first Swift car since production halted on Monday, a spokesman for the company told AFP.

Some 120 contract workers, hastily recruited in recent days, are helping to ramp up production. Normally, production would be halted due to the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The new workers had to be brought in after Maruti demanded that existing employees signed a “good conduct” pledge before being allowed back in to the Manesar plant in the northern state of Haryana.

Just 36 out of a nearly 2,000-strong workforce had signed the bond as of Tuesday evening and those workers had returned to work, the company said. Maruti resumed partial operations in the highly automated areas of welding, pressing and painting of cars at the plant on Tuesday evening.

“We are confident production will be ramped up in the next few days,” said the spokesman, who declined to be named, citing company policy.