India: Mass organisations stage protest demonstration against the arbitrary expulsion of hundreds of workers of Maruti Suzuki

Delhi Metro Kamgar Union:

“Efforts to buy industrial peace by covering up the real reasons for the incident

at the Maruti Suzuki will only lead to a greater unrest”

 New Delhi, August 21. Various mass organisations, unions and social activists staged a protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar today against the arbitrary expulsion of hundreds of workers Maruti Suzuki  by the management and the continued persecution of the workers. The protestors also submitted a memorandum to the union labour minister to revoke the suspension of the workers.

It is to be noted that tha Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki has opened today itself after a month long lockout. However the management has announced the expulsion of the 500 permanent workers. Also the future of more than 1500 contract workers remains uncertain. The company has threatend to terminate more workers in future.

Despite heavy rainfall since morning, large number of workers and activists coming from Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida and Gurgaon took part in the demonstration.

While strongly condemning the dictatorial decision of the Maruti Suzuki management, the speakers said that the anti-labour attitude of Haryana government and the Central government stands exposed through their support to this act of pushing the hundreds of workers and their families on the street.

The speakers mentioned that the incident of July 18 at Maruti Suzuki Manesar was not a planned act of violence but an explosion of workers’ anger against the company’s policies which had accumulated over a period of time. But the company has waged a campaign to brand the workers as a “murderous mob” and “criminals” and by puttting all the legal conventions on the back burner the police is on look out for the workers merely on the F.I.R. of one side. Nobody bothered to understand what caused the workers, who were increasing the company’s profit through their hard labour, to take the violent course. Continue reading

India: Maruti Crisis – Protestors demand release of innocent workers

Maruti Crisis: Protestors demand release of innocent workers

By Abu Zafar, newzfirst.com, July 21, 2012

dsc_0052.jpgNEW DELHI – A large number of people Saturday protested against the repression of workers at Maruti Suzuki plant, a leading car manufacturer and urged government to act against management of the company and to release innocent workers, who were arrested following violence inside the plant on last Wednesday.

The protestors, who gathered outside Haryana Bhavan, shouting the slogans against Bhupinder Hooda, the chief minister of Haryana and the management of Maruti Suzuki Company, accused the management of repressing the workers of the factory since a year.

Addressing the gathering of protestors, Shivkumar of Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra said, “Workers had long pending resentment against the officials of management, who used to harass and abuse the workers for trivial issues.”

He also expressed the deep anguish over the entire episode and death of Awanish Kumar Dev. “We grieve over this unfortunate and painful incident. And also deplore the move to make others scapegoat for this.”

He also held management of the plant, labor department and administration responsible for the entire incident. Continue reading

India: Rotten conditions for autoworkers worsen, and rebellion grows

[This week’s militant rebellion and workstoppage of autoworkers at the Maruti Suzuki plant in the Delhi area has brought with it typical (unsubstantiated) bourgeois media speculation about Maoists or Naxalites sparking the whole thing off.  But, as Mao Zedong said, “Where there is oppression, there follows resistance.”  It is the oppressive character of capitalist exploitation itself that gives rise to the rebellion of the workers–at times, beyond the limits of trade unionist arrangements.  In this article, by RUPE’s journal “Aspects of India’s Economy” the changing conditions the autoworkers are confronting, are described. — Frontlines ed.]

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Behind the Present Wave of Unrest in the Auto Sector

“Motown braces for wage revisions after three years”, reads a headline in the Business Standard on April 6, referring to wage negotiations in the Gurgaon-Manesar auto belt. “Haridwar factories brew Manesar-like labour situation” warns another headline in the same paper, reporting strikes at two major auto parts suppliers. The Reserve Bank of India, in its latest “Monetary and Macroeconomic Developments”, warns of the “pressure on generalised inflation from sustained increase in wage costs”.

What is happening to industrial wage levels? Is the prosperity of which the ruling establishment speaks now ‘trickling down’ to workers? Do workers now have the upper hand, and are they grabbing a bigger share of value added?

The last few years have indeed seen a rise in labour unrest, particularly in the auto and auto parts sector. Among the prominent instances are: Mahindra (Nashik), May 2009 and March 2011; Sunbeam Auto (Gurgaon), May 2009; Bosch Chassis (Pune), July 2009; Honda Motorcycle (Manesar), August 2009; Rico Auto (Gurgaon), August 2009, including a one-day strike of the entire auto industry in Gurgaon; Pricol (Coimbatore), September 2009; Volvo (Hoskote, Karnataka), August 2010; MRF Tyres (Chennai), October 2010 and June 2011; General Motors (Halol, Gujarat), March 2011; Maruti Suzuki (Manesar), June-October 2011; Bosch (Bangalore), September 2011; Dunlop (Hooghly), October 2011; Caparo (Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu), December 2011; Dunlop (Ambattur, Tamil Nadu), February 2012; Hyundai (Chennai) April and December 2011-January 2012; and so on.

Unrest is not limited to the auto industry, but it has been centered there. The auto industry has grown very rapidly in the last few years: From 8.5 million vehicles (including two wheelers, three wheelers, passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles) in 2004-05, production has risen to 20.4 million in 2011-12. Passenger car production has risen from 1.2 million vehicles in 2004-05 to 3 million in 2010-11 (and probably further in 2011-12). The auto industry is a well-known ‘success story’ of the rapid growth of the last decade, and the Government is set on making India a global manufacturing ‘hub’ for automobiles, with the help of large State subsidies.1

On the other hand, it is a well-kept secret that real wages in the auto sector – i.e., after discounting for inflation – actually fell continuously in the period 2000-01 to 2009-10. (The latest data available from the Annual Survey of Industries [ASI] are for 2009-10.) True, annual wages in the motor vehicles industry rose in nominal terms from Rs 79,446 in 2000-01 to Rs 88,671 in 2004-05 to Rs 109,575 in 2009-10.

However, the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) consistently rose more steeply than wages. So real wages in the auto industry fell 18.9 per cent between 2000-01 and 2009-10. (See Chart 1.) Continue reading

India: Press Statement by Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, 19TH July 2012

The Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) is anguished at the recent developments in Maruti Suzuki plant, IMT Manesar where the management has resorted to anti-worker and anti-Union activities in a pre-planned manner leading to violence and the closure of the factory yesterday.

We have had a long tough struggle with the strong unity of our permanent and contract workers to establish and register our Union last year, and had recently as of April 2012 submitted our Charter of Demands to the management of Maruti Suzuki, and the process of negotiation for wages and other demands was underway. However the management has done its utmost to derail the process since long and is trying to break the back of the spirit of unity of the workers and the legitimacy of the Union

It is due to this, and continuing with this vindictive attitude and in a pre-planned manner, yesterday, the afternoon of 18thJuly, a supervisor in the shop floor abused and made casteist comments against a dalit worker of the permanent category, which was legitimately protested by the worker. Instead of taking action against the said supervisor, the management immediately suspended the worker concerned without any investigation as was demanded by the workers. When the workers along with Union representatives went to meet the HR to demand against the supervisor and revoke the unjust suspension of the worker, the HR officials flatly refused to hear our arguments, and it was in no mood to resolve the issue amicably.

When the negotiation was going on with the leaders of the Union inside the office, the management called in the entry of hundreds of bouncers on its payroll from outside the plant to attack the workers, and blocked the exit. This is completely an illegal vindictive action in the spirit of conspiracy to corner us into submission even as our demands and methods are legitimate and peaceful. The exit gates were closed by the security on behest of the management and the bouncers brutally attacked the workers with sharp weapons and arms. They, joined by some of the managerial staff and police later, beat up a number of workers who have had to be hospitalised with serious injuries. The bouncers, who are anti-social elements on hire, also destroyed company property and set fire to a portion of the factory. The gates were later opened to oust the workers and enforce a lockout by the company. Continue reading