MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION: Condemn state repression on Justice Rally

Friends,

We from the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) and our families continue to face not only an exploitative company management but also continous state repression since we started our agitation demanding justice and legitimate rights of workers.

This morning, Imaan Khan, one of the members of the Provisional Working Committee, MSWU, was picked up by the Haryana police while a Press Conference was underway, from outside the union office of Sarva Karmachari Sangh in Civil Lines, Gurgaon near Puspanjali Hospital.

This press conference and other such programs are being organized as part of the week-long ‘JUSTICE RALLY’ through the villages and cities across Haryana from 21st January 2012 to culminate in a Dharna in Rohtak on 27th January.

Also today morning, one of the teams of the state-wide jattha which started from Rewari yesterday and were starting from Dharuhera today, was also harassed, intimidated and finally forcibly picked up by the police from Bilaspur- all 20 workers’ cycles were dumped into police vehicles and dropped off to a village in Jhajjhar. When the workers valiantly resisted these repressive tactics by laying on the ground and holding on to each each, the police used force to remove us and gave threat of arrests and torture if we enter Gurgaon.

Before this, on 22nd and 23rd January, police tried raiding our Union Office and threatened workers and their families of further arrests and torture if we dare to continue with our agitation. Besides our 149 fellow workers who continue to languish in jail for the last seven months, non-bailable arrest warrants against 66 more workers have been slapped on whom police repression is continuous. 546 permanent and 1800 contract workers have been terminated from our jobs.

We strongly condemn this continuous use of brute police force on workers and our families and anti-worker stance of our elected representatives, which is showing how nakedly the state is working to maintain the injustice and exploitation by the management of Maruti Suzuki company. It is our democratic right to protest, and we demand the immediate release of Imaan Khan, MSWU Provisional Working Committee member, and stop to further harassment by the police on our justice rally for Rohtak 27th January.

Ramnivas, Omprakash, Mahavir, Yogesh, Katar Singh, Rajpal

on behalf of Provisional Working Committee

MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION

For Amendments to Laws in Order to Create Safe Workplaces

As one month passed since the young physiotherapist was brutally raped in Delhi while traveling in a private chartered bus, working women who are frequently at risk on Delhi’s roads as well as in their workplaces, have been consciously raising the issue of how much more needs to be done to ensure safe and conducive work atmosphere for women. Nurses from across big hospitals in Delhi such as AIIMS (Delhi) held a peaceful protest rally in order to keep alive the issue of safety for women.  

Anxious about the daily risks they face while commuting to work as well as when at work in hospitals, women nurses strongly believe that existing laws regulating workplaces need to be re-assessed. Many of these nurses complain of harassment by patients’ visitors, as well as male hospital staffers. However, they felt that such sexual harassment was made worse by the fact that most of them were in highly exploitative work contracts. The simple fact that many private hospitals force their nursing staff to work extra shifts, do overtime, etc. and do not at the same time provide for something as basic as transportation to their women employees, is indicative of the conscious ways in which hospital managements’ are putting their women work force at continuous risk.

Many nurses employed across Delhi-NCR hospitals also complain that hospital bouncers are often used to physically and verbally intimidate nurses who speak out about unsafe and exploitative work conditions. In recent strikes in hospitals like Asian Institute of Medical Sciences (Faridabad) and Sharda Hospital (G. Noida), such private (male) security guards entered the nurses’ hostel attached to the hospital and physically threatened many nurses who were on strike. In such cases, the local administration and local police station have proved to be very lax in their response and are, more often than not, seen washing their hands off dangerous situations where the safety of working women is constantly at risk.

In this light, nurses and other working women are pressing the Government to properly regulate, or basically, to conduct a regular safety audit of workplaces across the city. Regulation of work hours/shifts given, creation of a safe atmosphere in and around the workplace, provision of written work contracts for all (even contractual and daily-wage) employees including women etc., are the need of the hour. It is through regular safety audits that the Government can assess whether such essential work conditions exist in workplaces or not. Moreover, in the light of how unregulated private transportation is in the Delhi-NCR region, working women across the city strongly feel that it should be made mandatory for all employers (private offices, hospitals, factories, etc.) and not just for owners of call centres to provide company transport. It is also necessary that better managed and more accountable public transport is brought in so as to replace various modes of private transport—a measure which will go a long way in ensuring safety of women commuters.

Lastly, the issue of regulating the functioning of police stations is also of major concern to women across the city. It is necessary that lodging of FIRs and placing of police stations under CCTV surveillance becomes a non-negotiable demand. It is extremely troubling that many women (including those who face sexual harassment at home and/or workplaces on a daily basis) are still afraid to file complaints with the Police, or have been turned away by police stations. Such negligence is a serious problem that has to be addressed immediately.

Maya John                                                                                       Ms. Tangama

Convenor, Centre for Struggling Women (CSW)               Vice President, Nurses’ Welfare Association

Contact: 9540716048, 9350272637 

Video: Union Maids (1976)

Courtesy: LibCom.org

Video: 9th December 2012 – Automobile Workers’ Convention

Maruti Suzuki Workers Union: Dharna (December 19 2012), Delhi

Friends and Comrades,

We from Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, appeal to you to strengthen our struggle, by joining us in our day-long protest demonstration in Jantar Mantar from 10am on 19th December 2012. While the management of the Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. and the government of Haryana, continues in its joint offensive against us, we reaffirm our commitment to carry forward our legitimate struggle.

As you know, 149 of our fellow workers continue to languish in Gurgaon Central Jail. The bail plea of 15 contract workers among them was rejected by the Sessions Court, Gurgaon on 4th December even when no substantial proof of indictment could be provided by the state counsel, which points to the sham in the name of legal process that is being inflicted on us. 546 regular workers and more than 1800 contract workers have been terminated from service since 18th July, and five months on, we only face the arrogant attitude of the management and the government adamant to crush our struggle and the questions that it has raised- against the exploitative working and living conditions, for the right to Unionize and demands of justice. We have organized number of protest rallies and deputations to ministers of ruling and opposition electoral parties but have been only been faced by a management and government which leaves nothing undone in their attempts to weaken and divide us further into jailed, terminated, those working inside the factory, as also between contract and permanent workers.

We have shown our resolve to forge unity among us workers across these divides put up by the company and the government. We successfully organized the Automobile Workers Convention on 9th December 2012, where we raised the common issues of workers across the auto sector in Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal-Faridabad-Noida-Ghaziabad industrial belts, recognizing that we workers face the same conditions of exploitation in the entire NCR industrial belt. We are organizing a protest demonstration in Jantar Mantar on 19th December which is also the martyrdom day of our beloved Asfaqulla Khan and Ramprasad Bismil, who gave their lives in 1927 in the anti-colonial struggle for freedom. When today we again struggle against present conditions of unfreedom, we appeal to all to join us on the day of the dharna.

Imaan Khan, Ramnivas, Omprakash, Mahavir, Yogesh, Katar Singh, Rajpal

Provisional Working Committee

MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION

Self-organisation is the first act of the revolution; it then becomes an obstacle…

Logo

Autonomy, as a revolutionary perspective realising itself through self-organisation, is paradoxically inseparable from a stable working class, easily discernable at the very surface of the reproduction of capital, comfortable within its limits and its definition by this reproduction and recognised within it as a legitimate interlocutor. Autonomy is the practice, the theory and the revolutionary project of the epoch of “fordism”. Its subject is the worker and it supposes that the communist revolution is his liberation, i.e. the liberation of productive labour. It supposes that struggles over immediate demands [1] are stepping stones to the revolution, and that capital reproduces and confirms a workers’ identity within the relation of exploitation. All this has lost any foundation.

In fact it is just the opposite: in each of its struggles, the proletariat sees how its existence as a class is objectified in the reproduction of capital as something foreign to it and which in its struggle it can be led to put into question. In the activity of the proletariat, being a class becomes an exterior constraint objectified in capital. Being a class becomes the obstacle which its struggle as a class has to overcome; this obstacle possesses a reality which is clear and easily identifiable, it is self-organisation and autonomy.

MSWU: DILLI CHALO!!! Against Police Repression on Auto Workers Convention

As you know, we from Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) have called for an Auto Workers CONVENTION on 9th December 2012 in Ambedkar Bhavan, Jhandewalan, New Delhi with common demands of auto workers in NCR industrial belt.

This program with our legitimate demands has been declared one week back, for which we have given due information for permission to the PMO and the Paharganj police station and have received copies of the same. But Haryana and Delhi government administration through the use of Police of both the states, along with CID Haryana has come down heavily on us for raising our legal and legitimate demands. They have denied us permission to hold the Convention in the evening today with the imagined reason that this will disrupt peace in the area. And since last two days, Haryana Police and CID has been calling on us and our parents and relatives to strongly threaten against holding this program and any such program in the future, or force will be used against us.

We condemn this direct attack on our democratic right guaranteed under the Indian Constitution by the joint forces of Haryana and Delhi government administration through the naked use of force in the service of the Maruti Suzuki management. And with what we have seen in the last four months, this is nothing new to us now, as the police and government administration have nakedly sided with the company management in their attempt to crush our voice of truth.

We appeal to all concerned with democratic rights and our just struggle to stand by us as we will go ahead with the declared program tomorrow and similar programs in the near future.Our fellow workers from across Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal-Noida-Faridabad-Ghaziabad industrial belt will join us and strengthen our struggle.

Condemning the police and administrative action against us, we reiterate our demands:

1. In the permanent nature of work in the auto sector in Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal-Faridabad-Noida-Ghaziabad industrial region, completely abolish the illegal contract worker system by the year 2013. Till they are not made permanent, all workers in the auto sector in this region should be given minimum wage of Rs.15,000.

2. All permanent workers in the auto sector must be given minimum wage of Rs.25000.

3. Unions must be formed in the auto belt industrial region. Within 45 days of application for registration of Trade Union, the concerned labour department must ensure the registration of the Trade Union with due process.

4. The High Court order in favour of workers of Eastern Medikit must be immediately implemented and the illegal lockout be ended. Take back all the workers of Eastern Medkit and ensure payment of due wages.

5. Along with all the 546 illegally terminated workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar, all the contract workers must be immediately taken back to work.

6. All the arrested workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar must be immediately released, the false cases withdrawn and stop the repression and torture of workers.

Sincere Regards,

Provisional Working Committee
MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION

 Program details:

Date: 9 December 2012; 11am to 6pm.
Place: Ambedkar Bhavan, Panchkuiyan Road, near Jhandewalan Metro Station, New Delhi

Contact: Imaan Khan-             09467704883      , Ramnivas- 08901127876, Omprakash-08607154232, Mahavir-09560564754,Yogesh-             08510043143      , Katar Singh-09728778870, Rajpal-             09555425175

Maruti Suzuki Workers Union: On the Automobile Workers Convention (December 9)

This convention is being organized to express the legitimacy of the struggle waged by the workers of Maruti Suzuki, Manesar in the last one and a half years under the leadership of Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, for which we have come under constant attack, conspiracy and misinformation campaign by the management aided by the government and administration of Haryana.

As you all know, our struggle in Maruti Suzuki Manesar started with our demands for our legitimate trade union and constitutional rights. But just when we raised our voice in demanding our right to Union formation, and also raised the question mark on the illegal practice of contract worker system in the factory, the management started a full-fledged attack on us workers, and as we learnt during our struggle, the company management will go to any lengths to crush our legitimate voices.

In the space of these one and a half years, we have closely seen the real anti-worker face of those in power. We have seen how the government of Haryana and its administration has openly colluded with the management of Maruti Suzuki to safeguard the interests of Maruti Suzuki company-like big capitalists, to wage a battle, nay a war, against the workers. We have no doubt now, after having seen all this, that the incident of 18th July has been orchestrated to serve this war against the workers.

Not satisfied with this, the government machinery has for the last 4 months after 18th July 2012, ensured full cooperation with the management of Maruti Suzuki and made sure that we are given no space at all to raise our voice any further, first with police torture and even shrinking all legal avenues open to us. The 149 workers languishing in Gurgaon Central Jail for more than 4 months now have all the legal right to getting bail, but the state has put all its weight to ensure that they are denied bail and continue to be treated as criminals. On 4th December 2012, all 15 workers (mostly contract workers, who do not even have their names in the original FIR) were denied bail, when all evidence suggested otherwise. But this kind of arrogant and corrupt attitude of the management and the government has only made our resolve to wage our legitimate struggle even stronger.

During the entire phase of our struggle, we have learnt that this kind of corrupt antidemocratic worker attitude and open flouting of all labour laws is not only limited to our Maruti Suzuki but this is the general condition of all workers in the entire auto sector of industry. So to raise the demand of Union formation and to point out the illegal practice of contract workers system under which contract workers in the entire industrial belt in the NCR region are exploited, all of us workers must be united and highlight the legitimacy of our struggle in society. We know that this is a difficult road, full of challenges, but having seen and suffered the inhuman and illegal attack and suppression of our voices and demands, we are accepting this challenge and take a vow to take our ideas and to all the workers of the entire NCR industrial belt.

We once again reiterate our demand to immediately take back all terminated workers and release all 149 arrested workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar. We want to return a healthy working atmosphere to the company through negotiation and dialogue, but on respectable and dignified terms and not on the conditions of slavery that is being imposed on us. Along with this, we are also raising our voice against the open loot by capitalists in Haryana and flouting of labour laws, and resolve to wage our legitimate struggle by uniting all auto workers of the region. As part of this, we are organizing a
Convention to make manifest our resolve, and call upon all members of the press to this Convention.

We demand that:

1. In the permanent nature of work in the auto sector in Gurgaon-Manesar- Dharuhera-Bawal-Faridabad-Noida-Ghaziabad industrial region, completely abolish the illegal contract worker system by the year 2013. Till they are not
made permanent, all workers in the auto sector in this region should be given minimum wage of Rs.15,000.

2. All permanent workers in the auto sector must be given minimum wage of Rs.25000.

3. Unions must be formed in the auto belt industrial region. Within 45 days of application for registration of Trade Union, the concerned labour department must ensure the registration of the Trade Union with due process.

4. The High Court order in favour of workers of Eastern Medikit must be immediately implemented and the illegal lockout be ended. Take back all the workers of Eastern Medkit and ensure payment of due wages.

5. Along with all the 546 illegally terminated workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar, all the contract workers must be immediately taken back to work.

6. All the arrested workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar must be immediately released, the false cases withdrawn and stop the repression and torture of workers.

Provisional Working Committee
MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION

Program details

Date: 9 December 2012; 11am to 6pm.
Place: Ambedkar Bhavan, Panchkuiyan Road,
near Jhandewalan Metro Station,
New Delhi

Contact: Imaan Khan- 09467704883, Ramnivas- 08901127876, Omprakash-
08607154232, Mahavir-09560564754, Yogesh- 08510043143, Katar Singh-
09728778870, Rajpal- 0955542517

Automobile Workers’ Convention (December 9, New Delhi)

Maruti Suzuki Workers Union has called a convention of automobile workers in the Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal-Faridabad-Noida-Ghaziabad industrial belt to demand organising rights,  respectable wages and working conditions, to oppose repression of workers and the contract labour system.

December 9, 2012
11 am-6 pm

Ambedkar Bhawan (Near Jhandewalan Metro Station),
New Delhi

maruti-suzuki-trade-union3

Blind Workers rally against labour rights violation by “welfare NGOs”

On the occasion of the World Disabled Day Blind Workers took out a huge rally at the Parliament Street against violation of labour rights by NGOs and Government connivance.

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment warned of intensified agitation and struggle if it does not provides employment at the earliest.

On the occasion of World Disability Day, blind workers under the banner of the Blind Workers’ Union took out a huge rally of blind workers regarding the entrenched problems faced by the disabled in the labour market, and towards the unfulfilled promises of the Social Justice Ministry to provide alternative employment to the disabled (in particular, the retrenched workers of National Federation of the Blind) in government undertakings. It is to be noted that since November of 2011, the blind workers have been protesting the retrenchment of several blind workers by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). This NGO retrenched the workers because they were speaking out against denial of minimum wages and other basic labour rights in the Training and Rehabilitation Centres (TRCs) run by the NGO. The blind workers have highlighted again and again how the Federation has been violating all statutory labour laws at its different production units. In fact, rather than minimum wages, the workers employed across NFB production units were being forced to work on the basis of a production-wage structure, which provides them barely Rs. 2600/- per month. This was way below the rate of minimum wages. The protest also raised the need for the Government to provide alternative employment for the disabled. A delegation of blind workers also submitted a memorandum of demands to the Ministry of Social Justice.

In the memorandum we raised the concerns of the blind workers and how they have been forced to become beggars in the absence of any employment. Also it is deeply disturbing that despite making several representations to the ministry these blind workers still await justice. For example, the Ministry has yet to take stern action against the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), which has entrenched large number of blind workers from its various Training and Rehabilitation Centres (TRCs) in October 2011. Neither has the concerned Ministry fulfilled its assurances of providing alternative employment to all the blind workers retrenched by the National Federation of the Blind at the government sponsored NGO, Arunim. Furthermore, discussion on and clauses in the pending Bill on the Rights of Persons with Disability (2011) continues to lack any serious engagement on the question of protecting the labour and economic rights of disabled persons employed in the private sector (i.e. by NGOs and private businesses). For us, such failure of intervention by the Government amounts to reducing World Disability Day to a day of pomp and show with no actual commitment towards upliftment of disabled workers through protection of their basic labour and economic rights like the right to gainful employment, right to equal remuneration, right to daily minimum wage, right to the eight hour work day, etc.

We also pointed out during the rally that our struggle is not just against the NFB, but against the overall exploitation of blind workers across the country by private companies and NGOs. It is an undeniable fact that in the interest of availing of certain benefits like tax exemption for employing persons with disability, the private sector is known to employ yet brutally exploit disabled persons. The arbitrary hiring and firing practices, unregulated working hours, etc. prevalent in the private sector, amount to a serious breach of social justice, which is why the blind workers have been approaching the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. More importantly, the workers realize that the failure of successive governments to provide adequate employment to the blind community is the main reason why blind workers are dependent on the highly exploitative private sector.Hence, our struggle is based on the fundamental right to a livelihood—a right the Government is to protect and uphold. The specific demands that the blind workers put forth in the memorandum include the following:

(i)                 Inclusion of a special section in the long pending Bill on the Rights of Persons With Disability (2011), which would safeguard the economic rights of blind workers employed in the private sector. For example, the Bill should include provisions to the effect that bodies violating basic labour rights will be penalized to the effect that NGOs indulging in such violation will face the cancellation of their registration;

(ii)               That the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment tables a concrete plan of greater job creation for blind persons in the public sector. It is only with the provision of more government jobs that the dependence of blind workers on exploitative private companies and corrupt NGOs can be overcome;

(iii)              That the central government stops funding NGOs who fail to comply with the country’s statutory labour laws while employing people;

(iv)             That the central government ensures that blind workers are given parity at workplaces and are paid minimum wages;

(v)                That the central government ensures all statutory labour laws are implemented in production units run by “social service” organizations like the NFB, as well as in workplaces run by other employers;

(vi)              That the central government takes over the production units run by NGOs like NFB, in consequence of such NGOs repetitively failing to provide proper employment and conducive work conditions for physically handicapped workers;

(vii)           That the retrenched workers of NFB be provided immediate employment either in Arunim or any other government-funded institution/workshop.

The blind workers have warned that the ministry must take immediate steps to provide employment. The inaction of the ministry will compel us to intensify our agitation and movement to expose the Government’s lack of commitment towards protecting disabled workers’ statutory rights.

Thanking you,

Alok Kumar                                                                                                         Ramnath

(On Behalf of Blind Workers Union)                                                       (On Behalf of Blind Workers Union)