India: Nationwide trade union strike hits banks, Noida protests turn violent

Bharat Bandh turns violent in Noida.


Noida, February 20, 2013
[Protesters put a truck on fire during the 2-day trade union strike in Noida.]

A union leader was killed in Haryana and factory units damaged in Delhi suburb Noida in sporadic violence on Wednesday as the start of a two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions evoked a mixed response with banking services paralysed and public transport disrupted. Kerala, Tripura and Bihar were among the worst hit states where normal life was thrown out of gear while stray incidents of violence were reported in Odisha and Karnataka. Protest marches were taken out in several cities.Flight and rail operations remained unaffected in the strike called by 11 trade unions against UPA’s economic and alleged anti-labour policies.

Reports from state capitals said financial services were crippled and bus commuters faced difficulties.

In Noida Phase 2 area, workers clashed with factory owners in a hosiery complex and set ablaze vehicles prompting authorities to deploy PAC in the area. Workers went on a rampage and damaged industrial properties, police said.

From Sector 82 till Greater Noida entry point, which is the industrial belt, workers set ablaze a car, bus and a fire engine, police said.

“People just barged in, looted everything in sight and even tore our registers,” an industrialist said while another said every single building in the hosiery complex had their windows broken and many vehicles were set on fire. Continue reading

Automakers are flooding to the Deep South for cheap, union-free labour

State of the anti-union

by Tamsin McMahon in Maclean’s, Thursday, April 5, 2012

State of the anti-union

When German executives from Volkswagen descended on Chattanooga, Tenn., last May for the grand opening of their $1-billion plant, they pointed to the warm Southern hospitality and the cultural amenities of life on the banks of the Tennessee River as key reasons for deciding to build their first North American auto assembly shop in 20 years on the site of a former wartime-era munitions factory in the Deep South.

Auto industry analysts pointed to other reasons the automaker chose Chattanooga: the region’s high unemployment and strong anti-union sentiment, which promised both a massive labour pool willing to work for cheap and more than half a billion dollars in government incentives—nearly $200,000 per worker. Luring Volkswagen, which promised to hire nearly 2,000 workers for as little as $14.50 an hour, was deemed a huge coup for the city of 170,000. Since the plant opened, the city’s unemployment rate has dropped from nine per cent to 7.3 per cent. Volkswagen-branded shirts became the city’s most coveted fashion item. Continue reading