NEW DELHI — India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki called on Monday for authorities to evict 1,500 striking workers who have seized control of one of its plants, amid allegations of sabotage and violence.
The Japanese-controlled company, which sells nearly one out of every two cars in India, said the workers had been inside its Manesar factory in northern Haryana state since Friday.
Tensions have been high for months at the plant with work stoppages costing the company at least $240 million in lost output.
“The workers are keeping the facilities under siege,” a Maruti spokesman, who asked not be named in line with company policy, told AFP, calling it a “law and order problem.”
“We need the police to evict them, we’re telling the state government to evict them. We can’t get into fist fights with the workers,” he said.
Maruti is 54 percent owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp.
India is critical to Suzuki’s fortunes as it is the Japanese company’s biggest overseas market, producing the Swift, A-Star hatchbacks and the SX4 sedan at the Manesar factory, which employs 2,000 workers.
The Maruti spokesman said the company had been able to “rescue” the 500 factory workers who did not want to be on strike.
He added the company had dismissed 15 workers and suspended 10 others who allegedly beat up other workers who refused to join the strike.
“The striking workers attacked co-workers, supervisors and executives in multiple incidents of violence, and damaged factory property inside the plant,” a company statement said Sunday.