Maruti-Suzuki officials said workers have seized control over the company's factory in Manesar, Harayana, on the third day of the latest round of strikes against rigid work policies, the Times of India reports.
The company also said that workers attacked managers and supervisors and damaged equipment at the Manesar plant, shutting down production and hamstringing India's leading car maker.
"The plant is effectively captive in the hands of striking workers who are bent upon violence," the company said in a statement, describing the situation at the factory as "grave."
Workers at a key component supplier, Suzuki Powertrain India (SPIL) reportedly joined the latest strike at the Manesar factory. The fear is that operations at the company's main plants at the Gurgaon factory site will also have to be halted, the Times of India said.
So far, the strike has cost the company as much as $150 million.
Though salaries are high at the plant, compared with most jobs across India, workers say that conditions are miserable and they are treated like virtual slaves, according to Tehelka.
Here is what a Maruti Suzuki worker says his average day at the Manesar plant is like. You catch a bus at 5 am for the factory. Arriving a second late to punch in your card means a pay cut, but you can’t leave the premises once you’ve entered. At 6.30 am, you exercise and supervisors give you feedback on your previous output. Start work at 7 sharp. Everyone does his one task — assembling, welding, fixing — for a minimum of 8 continuous hours. A car rolls off the line every 38 seconds, which means you can’t budge from your position, ever. You get two breathless breaks during the day. At 9 am, a 7-minute break to drink tea or go to the loo, or both. After a while you might, like many of your friends here, end up taking your hot tea and kachori to the bathroom with you. Then a lunch break of 30 minutes, in which you walk about a half kilometre to the canteen, wait in line with everyone, eat and walk back. Returning even a minute late from any break, or leaving the assembly line for any reason even for a minute, means half a day’s pay cut. Older systems used to include an overseer for every small group of workers who could step in if someone needed to take a breather. But, the cost logic of production is perennially at odds with workers’ rights.