The management of the biggest car company in India, Mauti Suzuki India Limited has forced a lock-out at the Manesar, Gurgaon plant since the morning of 29 August. It has terminated 11 workers and suspended 10 more on baseless charges of indiscipline and participatins in a "go-slow action". The company has also imposed a dictatorial and utterly illegal "good conduct bond" on the workers and has decreed that any worker who will not sign the bond will be considered "on strike" and will not be allowed to enter the plant. (Please see the text of the notice at the end of this letter.)
The management had started preparing for this lockout since the evening of Sunday and a large police force was deployed at its behest at the plant. The company has already appointed a number of 'bouncers' as security guards and several musclemen from nearby villages have also been hired to intimidate and threaten the workers. However, the workers are united and determined to fight this attack. Not a single woker has signed the bond. Along with the 1100 regular worker, around 2000 contract and apprentice workers have also joined the struggle, although te management tried to separate them by announcing leave for contract and apprentice workers till September 1.
The Haryana govt. is brazenly siding with the MSIL and laving no stone unturned in crushing the workers' struggle. The BS Hudda led Congress got. had promptly declared the 13 day (4-17 June) strike illegal and its labour minister kept on trying to end the strike in favour of the company by threatning and misleading the workers.
Ever since the end of the strike in June, the management has been trying to dismiss and threaten or demoralize the workers by various means. Since July, some contract and apprentice workers are being thrown out almost every day. Even without counting the action on 29 August, 84 workers have been dismissed or suspended since July. In July, after the management sponsored elections of the Gurgaon plant based pro-management union, which was boycotted by Manesar workers, the management terminated some leading members of the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union which is still continuing.
Chief Minister Hudda had promised the workers leaders that there will be no difficulty in getting the union registered. However, just a day before 15 August, the govt. dismissed their application for registration and made it clear whose independence it really was. In fact, during the June strike, Hudda had promised Shinzo Nakanishi that his government will not allow the formation of a second union.
At least 2 million workers work in hundreds of units situated in the vast industrial belt in and around Gurgaon. There are around 1 million workers work in the units of automobile industry alone. These workers who produce auto parts for companies from all over the world in modern factories have to work in very bad conditions. More than 90 percent of these are contract workers who work for 10-12 hours for 4000-5000 per month. The workload and speed is extremely high and they have to face verbal abuse and even beatings by the supervisors and security guards. Most of the factories do not have unions and where the workers have managed to form a union, they have to face constant harrassment. The established big unions do nothing except paying lip service to the issues and in many cases have ditched the workers in favour of the management. In this scenario, the issue of the right to form a union is a common and universal issue in the Gurgaon industrial belt.
The workers of Maruti Suzuki, Manesar may earn a little bit more than other workers but they too work in very bad conditions. The work load is very high and sometimes they have to work for even 16 hours at a stretch. Getting a leave or off day is extremely difficult and heavy fines are imposed for even a few minutes delay. They get two short breaks of 7-8 minutes for lunch and tea, even toilet breaks are not allowed in between. They have to face abuses and threats if they refuse to work overtime. This is the reason behind the resolute struggle of the workers to form their separate union.
We appeal to all democratic rights activists, intellectuals, jurists, media persons and justice loving citizens for solidarity and support to their just struggle.
What you can do:
- Sign on the online petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/MSIL298/petition.html
- We request that you send a letter of protest through email, fax, phone, letter and telegram to the Chief Minister, chief secretary, labour minister and labour secretary of Haryana and the officials of Maruti Suzuki India and Suzuki Japan, send memorandums and run a signature campaign to protest the repression of workers. The addresses, email ids, fax number etc are given below.
- Spread the news of this agitaion through your website, blog and facebook and appeal for support.
- We request that teams of civil rights activists should come to Gurgaon and investigate the situation, prepare their report and let the voice of justice reach the government and people.
- We urge that you organise protest demonstrations on this issue in Delhi, Chandigarh and other cities of the country.
- If friends from Delhi and other cities can come to Gurgaon and extend their support to the workers’ movement and launch a 'satyagrah' in their support, it will strenthen their struggle.
- Citizens Front in Support of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Struggle
Contact: Satyam (9910462009), Rupesh (9213639072), Sandeep, Sourav (9811841341),
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Contact details of officials of Haryana govt., Maruti and Suzuki:
Sh. Bhupinder Singh Hooda,
Chief Minister of Haryana
Room No. 45, 4th Floor, Haryana Civil Sectt.,
Office Phone: 0172-2749396, 2749409, Fax: 0172-2740526, 2740519
Residence Phone: 0172-2749394, 2749395, Fax: 2740596
EPBAX Ext. 2401, 2402
Shri Pt. Shiv Charan Lal Sharma
Minister of Labour, Haryana government
2740145 Ext : 2638, 2794617
Maruti Suzuki India Limited
Nelson Mandela Road,
Fax : 46150275 and 46150276
Suzuki Motor Corporation
Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 432 8611
Hamamatsu-Nishi, P.O. Box 1
Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 432-8611
Tel: (81) 534402061
Fax: (81) 534402776
Good Conduct Bond
In Terms of Clause 25(3) of the Certified Standing Orders
I,............................ S/o............................... Staff no............. do hereby execute and sign this good conduct bond voluntarily in my own volition in accordance with Clause 25(3) of the Certified Standing Orders. I undertake that upon joining my duties I shall give normal production in disciplined manner and that I shall not resort to go slow, intermittent stoppage of work, stay-in strike, work to rule, sabotage or otherwise indulge in any activity, which would hamper the normal production in the factory. I am aware that resorting to go slow, intermittent stoppage of work, stay-in strike, or indulging in any other activity having adverse effect on the normal production constitutes a major misconduct under the Certified Standing Orders and the punishment provided for committing such acts of misconducts includes dismissal from service without notice, under clause 30 of the Certified Standing Orders. I, therefore, do hereby agree that if, upon joining my duties, I am found indulging in any activity such as go slow, intermittent stoppage of work, stay-in strike, work to rule, sabotage or any other activity having the effect of hampering normal production, I shall be liable to be dismissed from service as provided under the Certified Standing Orders.
Date:........................ Signature of the workman.
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