New Delhi, Aug. 28: Maruti Suzuki India's shareholders today urged the country's biggest car maker to be more sensitive to labour disputes in the wake of a deadly riot at its Manesar factory as the company promised a swift return to normalcy at the plant.
"The management should think of bolstering industrial intelligence," shareholder D.D. Sadhana told Maruti's board of directors at the annual general meeting today. "Had it been active, we would have known what is happening."
Another shareholder said, "We need to have a good industrial-relations department, which should not let such evil crop up."
While unions and workers' groups say months of discontent over stalled pay negotiations was festering prior to the riot, the Maruti management has said that it is still unaware of what incited the violence. A police investigation is ongoing.
"We have to find out the cause of the incident and take preventative measures so that this kind of incident doesn't happen again," Suzuki Motor Corp chairman Osamu Suzuki said on Sunday. "We are trying to find out if there was any dissatisfaction among the workers and if we find anything we will address it."
The factory at Manesar has been plagued by labour problems, which turned violent on July 18 resulting in the death of a manager. More than 100 people, including the firm's executives and policemen, were injured.
Maruti declared a lockout at the plant on July 21 saying it will resume production only when it is sure that the employees are safe. Partial production resumed last week amid heavy security.
Maruti's chairman R.C. Bhargava said 700 of the 1,000 workers at the plant had joined work and the firm was "sure of resuming full production in the shortest period of time".
The plant with an annual capacity of 550,000 cars is currently producing fewer than 100 cars a day. Bhargava said the company expected to commence production from Gujarat from 2015-16.
Meanwhile, Maruti may raise its capacity to manufacture diesel engines beyond its initial plan of 700,000 units a year by 2014.