Post the violent protest at the Manesar factory in 2012, Maruti Suzuki India Pvt Ltd. pledged to not hire contract workers for production jobs, and this hasn’t changed until recently. India’s largest car maker now offers more benefits than they used to, to the temporary workers now called as “Company Temps.”
Workers on a contractual basis with the company are no longer called as ‘contract workers’ but ‘Company Temps,’ hired directly by the company and not through agents. While these Temps may be getting more benefits such as free meals, insurance, provident fund, medical and other benefits, they are paid a lot lesser than the regular permanent employees, which many at times is the same job done.
“The current salary of a temporary worker at Maruti Suzuki India is Rs. 17,000 per month, while a permanent employee’s pay varies from Rs. 17,000 to Rs.50,000 depending on the work experience,” Kuldeep Janghu, general secretary, Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union was quoted by Live Mint.
The very fact that they are temporary workers does not guarantee them protection under Indian labour laws, however some experts might argue on the point that it is the very rigidity of these laws that force companies such as Maruti to hire temporary workers and not opt for permanent ones.
The number of contract workers at India’s largest car maker increased by 61.5% between 2013-14 and 2015-16. The company currently has workforce strength of 10,626 contract workers, 13,259 permanent workers and 1,276 apprentices as of 31 March.
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The total workforce at India’s largest carmaker increased 24.41% to 25,161 during the period, according to the company’s annual report.
To prevent industrial unrest after 2012, wherein a senior human resource executive was killed and several others injured in violence that rocked the company’s factory in Manesar. This violence was because of workers demanding higher wages, better benefits and sound working conditions.
Post this incident; the company had immediately introduced a new system called “Company Temps” way back in 2012. This was first introduced at the Manesar factory and subsequently introduced in phases at the Gurgaon factory, a company spokesperson said. The temporary workers are directly hired from Industrial Training Institutes and trained by the company for several shop-floor jobs.
Attributing the increase in contractual workforce to the significant increase in production of cars and engines at the company’s manufacturing unit, the spokesperson said this addition is in line with the industry demands.
In the last four years after the Manesar violence, the company has increased pay of both its contract and permanent workforce, and bounced back with a 47% market share at the end of 2015-16 – the highest since 2000.
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