PUDR Statement upholding the Maruti workers’ right to protest

January 30, 2013

Press Statement from Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi (PUDR)

Imaan Khan, one of the active members of the Provisional Working Committee, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU ) was picked up by the Haryana police in the morning of January 24, just before a press conference of the union was to begin from outside the union office of Sarva Karmachari Sangh in Civil Lines, Gurgaon. The charges put against him are the same as those on the workers arrested for the July 18, 2012 incident which was happened in manesar plant, in which one of the HR Managers Awanish Dev had died. There is apprehension now of other active members of the provisional committee being picked up. This is possible because the FIR of the incident was against 500 unnamed accused.

It needs to be reiterated that 146 workers, including the entire union, are in jail for the last seven months and there are non-bailable arrest warrants against 66 more workers. Also 546 permanent and 1800 contract workers were terminated.

With the entire union body in jail, the provisional committee is actively questioning the actions of the illegal termination of workers, arbitrary arrests and in general state-management-police nexus. All are being met with a heavy hand to break the morale of the workers.

A week long program comprising of ‘JUSTICE RALLY’ through the villages and cities across Haryana was organized, by the committee from 21st January 2012, after all talks with the management and labor department for the reinstatement of terminated workers failed. The program culminated in a dharna in Rohtak on 27th January. During this period too, the workers participating in the jattha were harassed, intimidated and finally forcibly picked up by the police from Bilaspur, cycles all 20 of workers’ were dumped into police vehicles and dropped off to a village in Jhajjhar. When the workers resisted by laying on the ground and holding on to each other, the police used force to remove them and gave threats of arrests and torture if they entered Gurgaon. The MSWU union office was raided January 22 and 23 January.

Even the family members of the workers are being continuously harassed, by repeatedly summoning to the police stations and pressurized to get the workers to stay out of organizing work. Workers inside the plant are being given transfer orders to far away places for supporting the agitation too. Transfer orders were handed out to 12 workers to Mumbai, Kerala and Gauhati. This amounts to a virtual dismissal since workers find it tough to relocate.

PUDR strongly condemns the continuous repression and persecution of the Maruti workers by the Haryana government. This repression is clearly aimed at preventing them from exercising their right to protest against unfair labour practices and for demanding their legitimate rights.

We in PUDR

# Uphold the democratic right of the workers to protest and demand the immediate release of Imaan Khan, MSWU Provisional Working Committee member
# Demand an early and complete inquiry into the death of the HR manager and other events of July 18 and urge the Haryana government not to use the case to arrest more workers justly struggling for their rights!
# Prevail upon all other democratic forces to stand by the right of workers against the state, capital and management nexus for a more dignified life struggling workers and recognition of their just demands.


Ashish Gupta and D Manjit,
Secretaries
(27th January, 2013)