Demand to immediately stop the persecution of Maruti Suzuki workers and revoke their layoffs.
The Maruti episode is one of the representative examples of the conditions of workers in our country today. It has once again shed light on the real face of bourgeois state machinery and all of its pillars. It has once again laid bare the nexus between the government administration and corporate-capitalist interests. In the aftermath of the events of 18 July 2012 at Maruti-Suzuki Automobile Assembly Plant at Manesar, Haryana, India, where fire engulfed part of the plant and a management official died, the Company Officials and the capitalist media have clamoured and conspired to declare the workers as “murderers” and “criminals”. The reason why this campaign was orchestrated has now come to light. After one month of plant closure, Maruti-Suzuki has declared it will open the plant on 21 August 2012. It has given termination notices to 500 regular workers. In addition, another 1,500 contract workers have been laid off. Maruti-Suzuki has announced that it will not hire any contract workers and on new hiring to be started on 2 September 2012, it will give chance to the laid off contract workers for regular employment. Except for a few submissive (class-unconscious) workers, most will not be hired for the positions thus created by the firing of the 2000 workers. Working like hired servants of the car Company, the Haryana police has arrested Jiyalal, the same worker who was subjected to casteist abuse by the supervisor and because of which the workers had agitated that eventually led to the incident of 18 July 2012. The police has made him the "main accused" and Gurgaon district court judge has remanded him to police custody for five days, which no doubt will give the police enough time to “convince” (torture) him to sign a confession. In addition 114 workers have been arrested already and the rest have been forced to go into hiding out of fear. The Company officials had started a campaign of vilifying the workers immediately after the 18 July incident, declaring them a “murderous crowd” and “criminals” in which a large part of the news media gave them support. Setting aside all legal principles of taking statements from both sides of the disputed incident, the one sided management F.I.R. (First Information Report) was used by the police to arrest the workers. From the news media to the government officials, no one bothered to ask why were the workers driven to this anger that precipitated this violent incident? Why would the same workers who worked so hard to increase the production of cars and profits for the Maruti-Suzuki year after year as good employees would become violent offenders all of a sudden? The same workers of Maruti-Suzuki last year had peacefully agitated in three phases for a right to have their own union instead of the Company bought Yellow union that was imposed upon them. Despite company directed provocations, these workers had remained peaceful in the entire three month period without wages. What brought on this militancy among these workers? Using the power of money and the state Maruti Suzuki had broken the workers agitation in October last year (2011). For the last eight months the repression of workers had continuously increased inside the factory. Verbal abuse, threats and all kinds of mental abuse of the workers was commonplace in the factory. Like most other automobile plants in Gurgaon, the Maruti-Suzuki workers faced threats and mental tension at work from the managers, supervisors and hired goons retained as “security guards”. Despite sharp rise in cost of living, the management was trying its utmost to hold up the wage hike. The event of 18 July was the culmination of long simmering resentment and anger among the workers which the provocations by the Company management helped ignite. For this the first and foremost responsibility rightly belongs to the management of Maruti-Suzuki. In the ensuing violence the death of a company management official is unfortunate and to blame the workers for it is Maruti-Suzuki management’s conspiracy. The same media which is crying foul over the loss of profit to Maruti Suzuki due to work disruption from this incident is totally silent on the misfortune facing the workers and their families. And those from the civil society who are so concerned about corruption in government are silent towards this corruption of police and company management because these workers apparently do not count in their “civil” society. In this hour of crisis for hundreds of workers and their families, we call upon all the justice loving citizens to come forward in their support. We demand the following: 1. All layoffs, as these are done without proper and credible investigations, be withdrawn. 2. A high level impartial investigation of 18 July incident conducted. 3. No workers, including contract workers be laid off, prior to the issuance of investigation report. 4. All arrested workers must be released, all prosecutions must stop and all filed court cases be withdrawn. 5. There should be prosecution of management officials reponsible hired goons and provoking the workers. 6. Appointment of panel to investigate serious breaches of labor laws in the Gurgaon-Manesar area factories. This panel should also include worker organization representatives, labor law experts, and democratic rights activists. 7. Deployment of personals of armed forces, police personals and private security guards to check labour unrest on factory floor must be revoked. Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, Karawal Mazdoor Union, Delhi Metro Kamgar Union,Stree Mazdoor Sangathan, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Disha Students Organisation
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