Manesar (Haryana): India's largest passenger carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has halted production at its plant in Manesar in the Haryana state following a violent clash between the workers and the managerial staff, which left one worker dead and at least 90 injured, media reports said.
Shares of the company, controlled by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp, tanked over 7% on the stock exchanges Thursday.
The company's Manesar unit will remain shut on Thursday, Maruti Suzuki spokesman Puneet Dhawan said, adding that at least 90 officials were sent to hospital with injuries. The injured included three Japanese executives, as per media reports.
Problems at the site erupted Wednesday evening after the company management suspended a worker following a scuffle with an assembly line supervisor, media reports said, citing sources.
Around 3,000 workers gathered at the gate number 2 of the Manesar plant and set on fire an office around 6.30 pm after the second shift, The Times of India quoted Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Maheshwar Dayal as saying.
"Workers at the Manesar plant turned violent, attacking and injuring executives and managers in the office premises...The attackers also set fire to property and damaged facilities," Maruti Suzuki said in a statement.
The company, which witnessed three strikes at the same facility in the recent past, alleged that the worker manhandled the supervisor. The workers' union, however, blamed the supervisor for making casteist remarks against the worker.
"The supervisor made casteist remarks against a permanent worker. When we opposed it, they misbehaved with us and suspended the worker," Sarabjeet Singh, general secretary of the Maruti Suzuki Workers' Union (MSWU), said.
Later, the executives of the management met the union to resolve the matter, but the talks remained inconclusive.
According to the media reports, the automaker has lodged a police complaint against the agitating workers and 80 workers have been arrested following the clashes.
Maruti Suzuki suffered production losses worth over $500 million last year because of three-phased labour unrest beginning June, 2011 at the Manesar plant, leading to a steep fall in sales and market share. Any other shutdown at the plant would badly dent the operations of the auto giant.
The Manesar plant, which rolls out the company's best-selling Swift and DZire cars, makes 550,000 vehicles per year.
Production at Maruti Suzuki's Gurgaon plant remained normal, the reports said.
Shares of Maruti Suzuki were trading at Rs 1,132.15, down 7.53%, on the Bombay Stock Exchange at 11:38 am today.