Workers’ struggle in Jay Ushin Limited, IMT Manesar

November 24, 2014

[Translated from the November 2014 issue of Faridabad Majdoor Samachar]

There is a description in the October issue of Majdoor Samachar of the initiative of women workers in stopping production from 12 to 24 September in Jay Ushin factory.

In the factory of Jay Ushin Limited at Plot 4 Sector 3, IMT Manesar there are 390 women workers in the lock set department, 350 in the switch department, 50 in the four-wheeler lock department, and 25 in moulding. Besides 815 women workers there are also 300 male workers. The scared and nervous management was able to bring in only 170 women workers to the factory during 12 to 23 September. After giving concessions the company was able to get all female-male workers who were holding their ground outside the factory for 12 days, to restart production on 24 September.

When they were outside, then of course the two sides were face to face. Even after entering the factory, the two sides have remained clearly defined, although 3 who were initially leading have withdrawn. A high official moves around with a gun in the factory. To stop workers from going to the toilet, a supervisor has been placed at the gate. A while before the shift ends, the manager comes and stands at the locker room. The 170 who remained inside have been prohibited from conversing with those who stayed out. And, on 22 September, a male worker was in the 2 to 10pm shift when he was informed of his mother’s illness. After telling the manager, he left the factory at 4pm. The next day he was not taken on duty. To get him reinstated, on 29 September, workers went to the HR department, and they were told that the manager has refused. Workers went together also on 30 September, 1 October, 2 October,  but the management did not agree. The bosses said, if you want to go , you too go…..

On 27 September when the workers demanded payment for the overtime done during 1 to 11 September, the bosses said, first shout slogans, then you take it. Workers got together and went 4 to 5 times to the bosses, then the overtime payment was made. Women workers were paid at double the rate and male workers were paid at a little lesser rate, Rs. 55 per hour and Rs. 40-46 per hour.

September wages were not paid till 7 October. Workers got together on 10 October and went to the HR department. Teasingly the bosses said that so and so will give you the salary, to which the workers replied, then  get the work done from them. The bosses were scared, called the contractors, and started the wage disbursal the next day.

A supervisor told a female worker not to hold meetings,  you may be dismissed any time. The worker dared him to dismiss, at which the supervisor took her to the HR department and complained that she speaks too much. On asking “Why?”,  the woman worker said that the mouth is for speaking, for speaking against wrong. Work quietly or go…….In response she said that we will not work under threats, and this scared the bosses. The workplace of the worker was changed.

The factory has been functioning for 10 years but the company was not paying the statutory bonus. One impact of stopping work in September has also been that all workers have been given bonus before the Diwali festival.

On 19 October a Sunday, workers worked in lieu of an off day on 22. There was talk of a company function on 21 October – singing, dancing, refreshments, and gift distribution at 3pm. The instructions are for wearing salwar kameez in the factory but on 21 many wore sarees. Since morning, work only in name, and by 1pm it had completely stopped. Sharp words exchanged between supervisors and workers. At 2pm the company put up a notice that 22 October also will be a normal working day….The workers tore the notice, got together and went to the HR department, and demanded gifts. The bosses got nervous, said the gifts have not arrived, will come tomorrow, work till 1pm on 22, overtime will be given for the whole day. There was no company function, on 22 October also, came in sarees, took gifts and walked out of the factory.

After the Diwali vacations, the factory reopened on 27 October. Everything was normal the whole day. A little before the end of the shift, the manager came and started scolding women workers who had gone to the locker room. The workers protested. Next day, 28 October, 3 women workers were not allowed to enter the factory. Said you have caused a loss of Rs. 60 million, now you cannot work inside. In protest, workers stopped production till 11 am. Then on 29 October, for one out of these 3 workers, the company bus was  not stopped at Rewari, the second was made to get off the bus at Kosli, and the third was made to get down from the bus at Pataudi Chowk. From the day the three workers have been stopped from entering the factory, every day workers get together and go to the HR department, 28-29-30-31 October, and on 1 November, workers gathered and went to the bosses in the factory. The bosses: We will not take those three, if you want to go, then you also go…..To prevent workers from conversing on mobile phones, the company has installed a jammer in the factory.