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Maruti staff continue strike

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Sept. 27

THE employees of Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) continued their relay hunger strike at the company's plant in Gurgaon, near Delhi, even as top MUL officials were busy preparing for the launch of the Suzuki Alto on Thursday.

According to sources, MUL Directors had also met the Industry Minister today and discussed the new developments, including the employee demands and the Alto launch.

The Maruti Udyog Employees Union (MUEU) members had been protesting against the management's indecision regarding the new incentives package demanded by the employees.

When contacted, Mr Mathew Abraham, General Secretary, MUEU, said the employees were planning to intensify their agitation.

Mr Abraham said the relay hunger strike would continue and the union's committee was also mulling over other forms of protest. The MUEU representatives had also met Mr T.S. Vijayaraghavan, Secretary, Department of Heavy Industry, earlier this week and ap prised him of their demands, union officials said.

Further, Mr Gurudas Dasgupta, prominent trade union leader from Calcutta, had offered support to MUEU and held meetings with the employees and union representatives, sources said.

Meanwhile, Mr Jagdish Khattar, Managing Director of MUL, in a written communication to the employees, had argued that the current market situation of the company did not allow for an upward revision in the incentives for employees.

Mr Khattar had also pointed out that the increase in the productivity-linked incentives scheme had been higher than the increase in the productivity of the employees. He felt that, while the period since the introduction of the productivity-linked incent ive scheme till about 1995, the increase in productivity justified an enhanced incentive scheme, performance and incentives had not been commensurate ever since.

The MUEU had earlier submitted a proposal for a revised incentive scheme. Mr Khattar had commented about the proposal and mentioned that the company could not afford a commitment of a financial implication ranging from Rs 51 crore to Rs 60 crore per annu m.

However, the employees and the MUEU felt the company's current incentives package benefitted the top management and senior officials.

Related links:
MUL board takes stock
Maruti denies Alto launch date
MUL sales slide; lean patch temporary, says co -- `Price cuts will help boost sales'
Maruti brass to call emergency meet -- Sliding sales, dealer pressure could mean price cuts

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