Delhi – Press statement and memorandum from protest against attack on Maruti workers

May 26, 2013

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Press Statement

Activists of worker’s movement, revolutionary & progressive organizations, trade union movement and civil rights organization have jointly given a call for Gherao of Central Labor ministry office situated at Shram Shakti Bhawan, Rafi Marg New Delhi in solidarity with workers of Maruti Suzuki Pvt. Ltd. Manesar, Haryana. On 24.05.2013 at 2.00 p.m. people will gather around Shram Shakti Bhawan to start agitation and submit a memorandum to Central Labor Minister. As you are aware, the Maruti worker’s movement is going on since last several months. Worker’s assertion to have their own registered trade union has gathered the wrath of Maruti management as well as state government who are not ready to concede the right to freedom of association to the workers. Around 250 workers and their supporters have been jailed on various grounds since July 2012 incident in Manesar plant of Maruti.

In a recent development on 18th May 2013, 100 workers as well as activists were arrested from the Dharna Sthal at midnight in order to sabotage the plan of proposed Mahapanchayat in Kaithal town of Haryana on 19.05.2013. Among arrested are Comrade Shyambir of Inqulabi Mazdoor Kendra , Com. Amit of Krantikari Naujawan Sabha and Com. Deepak of Inqulabi Mazdoor Kendra. They have been charged u/s 147/149/188 /5011 of I.P.C.

On 19th May 2013, Kaithal town was heavily deployed with police and CID forces, in order to obstruct the entry of outsiders into Kaithal. Braving all odds & unmoved by police repression, a large number of public gathered near Kaithal town to have a demonstration. The meeting was peaceful, however at 6.30pm, without any warning, the stationed police force started a brutal lathi-charge, tear gas and water cannons on unprovoked, unarmed people’s assembly. Brutal attack was unleashed mercilessly on the protestors, which included women, children and old men. Hundreds were seriously injured and admitted to the hospital. The police came with a second round of lathi-charge when people were still in a state of shock. A curfew was enforced in Kaithal from the previous evening in order to stop this mass dharna to take place.

On 19th May 2013, 11 activists and workers including Ramniwas, member of the Provisional Working Committee and Deepak Baxi, General Secretary of Sangrami Sramik Karamchari Union (SSKU) were arrested under various grave charges including 307 of I.P.C. & 25/54/59 Arms Act.

We feel that state response towards worker’s movement is unwarranted, in a democratic country like ours, which derives its norms from the principles of ‘rule of law’. If workers are not given grievance
redressal forum as architected by law makers of the country, it is likely to have unprecedented repercussion.

A memorandum charting worker’s demand has been submitted to the labor minister.

AIFTU (NEW), INQUILABI MAZDOOR KENDRA, ICTU, AICCTU, SHRAMIK SANGRAM COMMITTEE, BIGUL MAZDOOR DASTA, PUDR, KRANTIKARI LOK ADHIKAR SANGATAN, KRANTIKARI NAUJAWAN SABHA, KRANTIKARI YUVA SANGATAN, RYA, DSU, SANHATI (DELHI), CORRESPONDENCE, PRATIDHWANI, VIPLAV SANSKRITIK MANCH, NOWRUZ, NSI and others.

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Memorandum submitted to Labour Minister

The workers of Maruti Suzuki India LTD, Manesar have been demanding their legitimate right to organize and abolition of the contract workers system, and have raised their voice for dignified employment against the exploitative Maruti Suzuki Management. For this, they have been targeted and attacked by the management. The government, instead of assuring the rights of workers, has only acted in favour of the anti-worker interests of the company. It is letting loose a reign of terror and police and administrative repression on workers and their supporters.

The arrest of 100 workers and some activists who had gone in support of the dharna in Kaithal Dist. Haryana at 11.30 PM on the night of 18 May 2013 to prevent the call of MSWU for a demonstration on 19th May shows precisely this anti-democratic pro-corporate authoritarianism of the Government. Section 144 had been clamped from 5 PM 18th May till midnight of 19th May only towards this intend. The entire town had been turned into a fortress, and barricades and huge police force deployed, and trying to stop the thousands of supporters who were coming in from across Haryana.

The meeting was peaceful, however at 6.30pm, without any warning, the stationed police force started a brutal lathi-charge, tear gas and water cannons on unprovoked, unarmed people’s assembly. Brutal attack was unleashed mercilessly on the protestors, which included women, children and old men. Hundreds were seriously injured and admitted to the hospital. The police came with a second round of lathi-charge when people were still in a state of shock.

The workers have taken to the most peaceful means of protest since the dharna started on 24th March 2013, which included an 8 day fast unto death, which they broke after the Chief Ministers assurance. They have shown during this phase and also during the entire phase of the strikes in 2011 that they are unitedly asking for theor rights in an exemplary show of democratic spirit, but the company and the state government is determined to distort reality and portray them as criminals. It is not even allowing them their democratic right to protest, either in Gurgaon, Manesar or in Kaithal.

When other workers, local villagers and Panchayat leaders came in support of the call of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union on 8th May, the District Adminstration of Kaithal immediately announced that funds to 84 sarpanch of village Panchayats will be stopped. Police repression is continuing on family members and others who are coming in solidarity. This is the reward, the government is thus telling us, for standing up in solidarity with legitimate demands of the toiling people.

We demand

1. Quashing of the heavy charges on 11 workers and others arrested in Kaithal on May 19.
2. Release of all workers and supporters arrested in Kaithal.
3. Release of all 147 workers in jail since July last year and withdrawal of non-bailable arrest warrants on 66 workers.
4. Reinstatement of all 2300 terminated workers.
5. Implementation of all labour laws and abolition of the contract labour system in Maruti Suzuki Ltd, the entire NCR region and across Haryana.