Haridwar Industrial Unrest “Manesar-like”

Inputs and Photos
by Trepan Singh Chauhan,
Uttarakhand Nav-Nirman Mazdoor Sangh

The 2011 Maruti Suzuki workers strike at Manesar (Gurgaon) has already become a metaphor for the new wave of industrial unrest in India, especially against the neoliberal industrial regime that makes the criminal violation of all kinds of regulation and labour laws by the corporate sector an imperative for growth and development. Manesar has come to signify the will of the workers to counter capital by spontaneous and solidaristic uprisings.

On April 4, Business Standard reported the strike in Haridwar in Satyam Auto and Rockman Industries, two leading auto parts suppliers to Hero MotoCorp, India’s largest two-wheeler company. This report was aptly captioned “Haridwar factories brew Manesar-like labour situation”. The strike, which has been going on for the last two weeks, has not been reported by any local or mainstream newspapers. According to the Business Standard report:

A two-week strike is unusual, but the managements of both companies have refused to agree to the workers’ demands. Unlike previous strikes here, this industrial action shows signs of disturbing the peace in the region, with support pouring in from workers at other companies. For the past one decade Haridwar and its neigbouring areas have seen investments from leading companies like Hindustan Unilever, luggage manufacturer VIP, battery manufacturer Eveready, and Hero MotoCorp. According to the BS report, “around 850 companies here employ over 70,000 people.”

So, as workers from the two strike-hit companies staged a protest here on Tuesday, outside the offices of the district administration, they were supported by workers from companies such as VIP, Eveready ITC and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL). A similar march was taken out last Wednesday, too. Major trade unions such as the All India Trade Union Congress and Hind Mazdoor Sabha have supported the protesting workers. So are 13 workers’ unions at the public sector engineering major, BHEL. Workers at Eveready and VIP have presented their respective companies with charters of demands, including wage hike.

Since yesterday (April 4), workers of Rockman Industries and Satyam Auto have been occupying the Parade Ground, Dehradun (the capital city of Uttarakhand), and were on a day long fast today to press for their demands.

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