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Breach of settlement notice slapped on Maruti workers

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The Haryana Labour Department has slapped a 'breach of settlement' notice on striking workers of Maruti Suzuki India's Manesar plant, a senior official said today.

The department has given workers 48 hours time to respond to the notice, which stated that they have breached the agreement signed with the management in the presence of state officials to end a 33-day-long standoff on October 1.

"A notice has been issued to workers yesterday for breaching the terms of settlement, which was signed with the management in the presence of officials of state labour department [to resolve standoff]," a senior official of Haryana Labour Department said.

While asking not to be identified, the official said: "[Agitating] workers have been asked to respond within 48 hours to explain why they again hampered car production without any provocation."

Less time has been given to the workers because of sensitivity of the matter, the official added.

Under section 29 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 any party, which breaches any term of any settlement which is binding on it, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine or both.

"After getting reply from workers, we will take further action," the official, adding "the matter may be referred to the Labour Court".

Blaming workers for again stalling production without any justification, the official said workers should have first approached the Labour Department if they had any grouse against the management.

"It was their [workers] sheer high-handedness by again going on strike a few days after signing the agreement with the management for resolving the issue," official said.

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