Is Maruti Suzuki’s “Good Conduct Bond” For Workers Lawful?

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Maruti Suzuki has been through a lot of rough patch in past months because of labour unrest at the Manesar facility. Work was impacted for months and production losses of the tone of few thousand crores were reported as a result in already slowing down auto Industry on India. After the initial disruption at Maruti’s Manesar Plant in Haryana, it asked the workers to sign a bond called the “Good Conduct Bond” before they could start their work, which magnified the wave of unrest and the strike went stronger after that and it took many weeks to bring the situation to normal. Now that the situation is peaceful and harmonious at the Manesar plant and the production is going normal, there are questions being asked about the “Good Conduct Bond” being a fair practice as per Indian labour laws. Different experts may have different and subjective views on this question.

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As per the bond,

the workers would not resort to go slow, intermittent stoppage of work, stay-in-strike, work-to-rule, sabotage or otherwise indulge in any activity, which would hamper the normal production output of the company.

The above conditions seem quite fair to us and are somehow a part of a healthy work culture. These qualities should be imbibed at the work place by providing good working environment for the workers and by keeping them motivated towards their work. It should not require any bonds, however even if required, it does not seem much objectionable.

When CPI and BJP members asked the Labor and Employment Minister Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge whether the Good Conduct Bond is fair or not, he replied saying:

“Demanding of good conduct bonds from workers as per conditions before allowing them to resume work is an arbitrary act and it also amounts to unfair labor practice as given in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Haryana Government reported that Maruti Suzuki India’s management enforced the workers to sign a good conduct bond for entering the plant’s premises due to diffused indiscipline by workers and acts of sabotage and production of defective vehicles, impacting output.”

The debate whether its was a fair practice or not may take forever as there have been many incidents related to it. However, we hope that the work conditions will remain good and peaceful at Maruti Suzuki which is in long run a win-win for both Maruti and it Workers. Please share your views on the same with us using the comment form below.

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