India's Maruti to Close Two Plants Amid Labor Unrest

Parts shortage due to dispute

India's top carmaker Maruti Suzuki announced it would shut two plants on Sept. 16 due to parts shortages as a bitter labor dispute over alleged sabotage spread to the company's engine supplier.

The Japanese-controlled company's management and workers at the Manesar plant in northern Haryana state have been at loggerheads since late last month when the workforce was blamed for damaging new cars on the production line.

"The Manesar plant and the nearby Gurgaon plant are both being shut on Sept. 16 because of the lack of availability of components," said a Maruti spokesman, who did not wish to be named.

The announcement came after workers at Suzuki Powertrain went on strike late on Sept. 14 in sympathy with the Manesar workers who have been locked out until they sign a "good conduct bond."

Suzuki Powertrain, majority owned by Suzuki Motor, supplies diesel engines to Maruti, which sells nearly half of all new cars in India.

Workers have also gone on strike at the factory of Suzuki Castings, part of Suzuki Powertrain.

The Maruti spokesman said it was not immediately known when the Manesar and Gurgaon plants would reopen.

Tensions have been high for months at the Manesar plant, which normally makes 1,200 cars a day, with Maruti refusing to recognize a new workers' union.

The announcement of the shutdown came as police and the company said at least five Maruti supervisors travelling to work at the Manesar plant had been injured by locked-out workers on Sept. 15.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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