Update from Maruti Suzuki Workers Union

October 6, 2014

 

MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION

Reg. No. 1923

IMT Manesar, Gurgaon, Haryana

Date: 5th October 2014

MSWU Release

Friends and Comrades,

To take our struggle forward, and press our demands of justice for all 147 arrested and 2500 terminated Maruti workers and our families, we organized a rally today 5th October in Kaithal, Haryana. We took out the march through Kaithal in a city-wide campaign raising slogans against the anti-worker attitude of the government and management under whose money-power they operate.

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In the meeting after the rally, speakers stressed that in view of the coming elections in Haryana on 15th October, we know from experience how even though we have knocked on the door of every elected representative, the government has always sided with the management. We do not want a government under control of capitalists.

We were again faced with barricades when we marched to the Industries Minister’s residence. We later submitted a memorandum to the Minister through the DC, Kaithal.

In today’s rally and in countless others in the last two and a half years, we have been encouraged by the persistent faces of our friends and families, along with our fellow workers. Our families who joined in large numbers today are toiling people from across Haryana, UP, MP, Rajasthan, Bihar and others. They have suffered continuous harassment and violence or at best indifference in the hands of the government for the last two and a half years. At the same time, they have shown us what courage and persistent struggle means in standing strong with arrested workers- brothers, sons, fathers, friends- in the face of economic and emotional hardships.

Friends, you know that this has been a long drawn struggle of workers for our legitimate rights led by the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union. And given the increasing attack on workers and toiling people, in the form of increasing contractualisation, unemployment, changes in labour laws, etc., such struggles are only going to intensify in the days to come. We provide below a brief on the legal cases, and some recent reports in the media:

[I]

Brief legal cases update:

Criminal Cases:

None of the arrested 147 workers have got bail till now. Cases ranging from murder, attempt to murder, looting, arson, and so on, have been wrongfully thrust upon us in a completely one-sided manner. Only one member of Provisional Working Committee, MSWU who was picked up on 24Jan 2013 in a separate move to repress the struggle outside, was granted bail after one year.

Cases of similar nature against 66 more workers in the name of ‘absconding’ are also going on along with, and this has resulted in continuous harassment of these workers and their families.

The bail process for the workers has gone through one round of rejection in the Lower Court (Gurgaon), High Court (Chandigarh) and delay in the Supreme Court in the last two years. The HC judgement in the first refusal said: “this incident is the most unfortunate that has lowered the reputation of India in the world. Foreign investment is likely not to happen due to growing labour unrest”.

We have thus been facing politically motivated judgment on behalf of the capitalists, and faced anti-worker attitude of the judiciary along with the labour department also.

In the second round, as per the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, 23 eye-witnesses had to testify in the trial before application of the next bail. This was done, and the witnesses from the management side failed even to recognize some workers whose bail was argued. Even then, the lower court in Gurgaon again rejected it. The appeal against this was rejected again by the HC on 29th August 2014, 15 oct,

with the argument that: if we give bail now, given that most of the trial is already under way, it would mean giving judgment on the trial itself. The meaning of bail itself is eroded if the trial is over, which is anyway skewed against us, as our voices are tried to be subdued by the force of the money-power of Maruti Suzuki and its power over our own elected representatives in the Haryana government and the Centre.

Now the appeal will go to the SC again in the coming days. Apart from the struggle on the ground, this also requires wider support of civil society and all democratic and pro-worker forces, and we appeal to all to stand in solidarity with us.

Labour Cases:

The labour cases, challenging the ‘approval’ sought [under Section 33(2)B of the Industrial Disputes Act] by management for termination of 423 pp permanent workers is also going on. We have been wrongfully sought to be terminated without any domestic enquiry or anything to prove our involvement in any related dispute. 1800 contract workers have also been unceremoniously thrown out and we have raised this issue in all our agitations, demands and formal depositions as a core issue, which the management is still evading.

Kaithal case:

Meanwhile, in the case in Kaithal of 19 May 2013 (where there was brutal lathicharge by Haryana Police, faced with spirited resistance by workers and activists), where 111 were in Jail, 100 had been given bail earlier, and 11 after more than 2 months: both the cases go on. In the case of the 100 workers and activists, after date-upon-date, it is reaching a stalemate. In the trial in the case against 11 workers and activists, which include fake cases ranging from the Arms Act to Attempt to Murder, not a single witness could be indentified by the police who testified, and the case is nearing completion.

[II]

However as you know, this has been a spirited untiring long struggle of the terminated workers themselves led by the Provisional Working Committee, MSWU. Today we also see the increasing unity among struggling workers in the belt, more so since we struggling workers have won the Maruti Suzuki Union elections in the Manesar and Gurgaon factories against management-propped panels. The workers of the four Maruti plants have come on a common platform, and the united marches of those working in the factories and those terminated demanding the demands of the movement on 1st May in front of the Manesar plant, 18th July in Gurgaon and again on 3rd August in Rohtak have lifted our spirits.

The ongoing struggles of the workers in the entire industrial belt from Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal-Bhiwadi also draw from and positively affect our movement.

[III]. Among recent coverage in the media, some are:

a). Reports in The Hindu in August:

1. The Curious Case of the Alphabetically Accused;

2. The ABC of Labour Unrest at Manesar plant

b). NDTV did two 19min reports last week: India Matters No Way Out: watch it here and here.

c). A report on the condition in Jail in scroll.inA Visit to Bhondsi Jail

We appeal to all pro-worker forces and individuals to strengthen and take forward the struggle to ensure justice and end the regime of exploitation and repression on workers and those who stand with us.

Ramniwas (8901127876), Mahabir (9416037775), Rajpal, Yogesh, Katar

Provisional Working Committee
Maruti Suzuki Workers Union
IMT Manesar, Gurgaon
marutiworkerstruggle@gmail.commarutisuzukiworkersunion.wordpress.com