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

India: After abuse of Dalit worker, Maruti Suzuki autoworkers rebel, attack management–plant shut down, workers arrested

Maruti unrest: Manesar plant shut indefinitely, 99 workers arrested

by Naresh Sharma/Firstpost, Jul 19, 2012

[Around 500 policemen are at the Manesar plant. Photo: Naresh Sharma/Firstpost]

99 workers arrested, company still assessing damage at facility

4:03 As the Maruti workers and management blamed each other for the unrest at the Manesar plant, almost 100 workers were arrested on Thursday. Over 1,000 policemen have now been deployed at the factory and work has been suspended indefinitely. A case has also been registered against 60 workers for attempt to murder and damage to property. The company also said nearly 100 executives have been hospitalised after workers and members of the management clashed on Wednesday afternoon. The company has, in a statement, accused the workers of setting the plant on fire.

A Maruti spokesperson told CNBC-TV18 that a decision on when operations will be resumed at the Manesar plant will be announced soon as the company is still assessing the damage at its property and the facility. The company, however, clarified that the there has been no  damage to the production line. Only  administrative offices have been destroyed.

Victim identified as HR manager

3:02 The victim who was  burnt during the fire has now been identified as Avnish Kumar Dev, General Manager, HR. He is suspected to have died of smoke inhalation after he was trapped in the room which was set on fire. The senior official’s body has been identified by his brother-in-law. Dev’s charred remains were found after a fire in portions of the plant, including a control room, was doused. Continue reading