Rajasthan – Report of police repression on workers of Sriram Piston in Bhiwadi; Memorandum to Chief Minister; Report on deadly attack on worker activists of Gurgaon Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti and Bigul Mazdoor Dasta

May 6, 2014

Report on deadly attack on worker activists of Gurgaon Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti and Bigul Mazdoor Dasta

May 5. Ghaziabad. Goons of owner and management of Sriram Piston attacked the activists of Gurgaon Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti and Bigul Mazdoor Dasta who were distributing pamphlets at the Ghaziabad plant of Sriram Piston in support of the struggling workers of Bhiwadi plant of Sriram Piston. The deadly attack by these goons took place around 5 PM and resulted in serious injuries to four worker activists Tapish Maindola, Anand, Akhil and Ajay.

The team of worker activists had gone to the Sriram Piston in Ghaziabad to appeal the workers to lend their support and solidarity to their struggling worker brethern at the Sriram Piston in Bhiwadi, which is in Rajasthan. Ajay of Gurgaon Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti told that they had been distributing pamphlets at a point 50 meter away from the factory gate at Meerut Road, Ghaziabad. Suddenly, two cars stopped nearby and around 8 goons came out of it and without any warning attacked them with iron rods, sticks, belts, etc. Consequently, the worker activists were forcibly taken by the goons inside the factory and called the Ghaziabad Police. And then in the presence of Police personnel the goons continued to beat the activists with rods, sticks for hours. Due to this barbaric attack Tapish sustained fracture in one leg, Anand sustained serious head injury as well as a fracture in the leg, whereas, Akhil also sustained serious leg injuries. Afterwards, the Police, instead of arresting the attackers, took the activists in custody and took them to Police station. Instead of filing FIR against the attacking goons of Sriram Piston management, the Police tried to file a FIR against the worker activists themselves. However, by then a few other worker activists had reached the Police station and due to pressure from various democratic and human right activists, journalists, etc, the Police could not file such an FIR against the activists. However, the injured activists of Gurgaon Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti and Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, who were suffering from horrible pain due to fracture and head injury were not given any medical attention all this while and were left completely unattended.

It is noteworthy that workers of Sriram Piston, Bhiwadi had been struggling for their just rights for last 20 days. The anti-worker Vasundhara Raje government has tried everything to suppress this movement. During this movement, the BJP government of Rajasthan, following the diktats of Sriram Piston owner and management, organized a midnight assault on the sleeping workers. The attackers, apart from the Police, included goons and bouncers. However, this attack consolidated the resolve of the struggling workers to intensify their movement. In the meanwhile, the labour department, instead to resolving the issue stopped the process of registration of the union of these workers. Also, the company without giving any reason, began to terminate the workers. However, all this only strengthened the fighting will of the workers. On May 4, Gurgaon Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti, which has been supporting this movement, told the leadership of the struggling workers that it will distribute a pamphlet among the workers of Sriram Piston, Ghaziabad, appealing to them to lend their support to their brothers in Bhiwadi.

On May 5, the joint team of Gurgaon Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti and Bigul Mazdoor Dasta distributed these pamphlets outside the Ghaziabad plant of Sriram Piston and during this very pamphlet distribution the team was attacked by the goons of owners and management of Sriram Piston. The way in which the attack had been carried out clearly shows that the goons were hitting to kill. The activists were assaulted on head with iron rods. This clearly shows the murderous intent of the owner and management of Sriram Piston. Moreover, this also shows that be it Samajwadi Party government of UP or the BJP government of Rajasthan, there is no difference for the workers. Both of them mean the same damn thing for the workers: barbaric and naked dictatorship of capital.

This incident also shows that Sriram Piston owners and management are afraid of the workers movement. The workers movement has made them anxious and paranoid and that is the reason behind this cowardly attack on the activists of GMSS and Bigul Mazdoor Dasta. Certainly, workers do not fear such cowardly attacks and they will intensify their movement even more. We appeal to all workers organizations, democratic rights organizations, student organizations and all pro-people intellectuals and citizens to extend their support and solidarity to the struggling workers of Sriram Piston.

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Memorandum to Rajasthan Chief Minister seeking action against the police administration

This is to register our strong protest against the illegal, unconstitutional, undemocratic and inhuman violent assault on peacefully sitting striking workers of Shriram Pistons situated in the Bhiwadi Industrial Area, Rajasthan. This incident shows the growing trend of violent and brutal repression unleashed on workers demanding their just rights. In this case as well, like many others in the past, workers of Shriram Pistons were trying to form their own independent union, a right guaranteed to them by our constitution. The repressive character of management of the said company became apparent very soon when it started dismissing workers, including president and secretary of the Union, without following any legal procedures required under the Labour Laws governing industrial relations. The Labour department, in collusion with the company management, rejected their application on flimsy ground in the month of January after which the workers have reapplied for registration. The Labour Department once again in collusion with the management, is trying to stonewall workers’ efforts and to deny them their constitutional right by raising untenable objections to their application.

In a despicable move, the company threatened some workers to file a suit in the Civil Court against the Union registration process and sought a stay on union registration. In complete subversion of law, the Civil Court has given a stay till the next hearing in May 2014, and asked the Labour Department not to proceed with the Union registration, whereas the law clearly states that Civil Courts have no jurisdiction in the matters of Union registration. This is complete bending of legal machinery to sub-serve the profit hungry management. Meanwhile the management of the company has been dismissing workers who are perceived by them as active members of the union, without even serving them a show-cause notice. The workers effort to talk to the management to diffuse the situation and to reinstate the illegally terminated workers and to meet their demands on wage revision has not yielded any result. It is in this context that the workers have stopped work and were sitting on a dharna (about 1200 inside the factory premises and about 600 sitting outside the factory gate,) peacefully since 15th April 2014.

Hell bent on crushing the peaceful protest of the workers, the management was trying to unleash any kind of violent assault on them. It was unfortunate that your police administration has become an extended part of the company management and conspired to launch an extremely brutal violent assault on the workers on early morning of 26th April 2014. Before the dawn, police forces, accompanied by privately hired goons, started beating them mercilessly with lathis, fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets on them. The police even fired 10 rounds from their weapon (by their own admission) on the fleeing workers. Many workers were stabbed in their chests. In this brutal attack at least 150 workers were seriously injured and were hospitalised, some of them still admitted in the hospital.Moreover, to top all this, workers who were facing bullets, lathis and stabbing, are now being doubly victimised by foisting false cases against them, and by arresting and sending them to prison. 26 of them have since then have been put behind bars. This is strikingly similar to the tactics adopted by the police administration everywhere to crush workers who were demanding their constitutional rights. It seems that the police had waited till the Lok Sabha polling to get over and then teach the workers a lesson, as they had boycotted this election in protest against all these injustices and complete indifference of the government to all their demands. The workers since then have been forced to move 500 meters away from the factory gate where they are continuing with their protest.

We the undersigned organisations and individuals want to register our protest against this illegal conspiratorial violent attack by police administration in collusion with the company management on the workers who are demanding their just rights. We demand that:

1. All false cases on workers be lifted and they be released from prison immediately.
2. The guilty police persons, management officials, and their privately hired goons to be arrested and punished for their crime of assaulting peacefully sitting workers.
3. Action be initiated against the Labour Department officials who have illegally denied workers their right to unionise.
4. To immediately look into the matter of illegal interference of Civil Court in a Labour Union matter and ensure that workers union is registered without delay. The current union and its office bearers should be recognised as the negotiating representative in the talks with the management and labour department.
5. All terminated workers are reinstated immediately with full pay and allowances.
6. Workers demand regarding their wage revision and other working conditions are met.

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Report of police repression on workers of Sriram Piston in Bhiwadi

20140427_141912

A report by Workers Solidarity Centre (Gurgaon)

The brutal police repression on the striking workers of Sriram Piston on 26th April 28, 2014 in Pathredi industrial area of Bhiwadi, an important part of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, exposes the underbelly of so-called ‘development model’ promised and show-cased by the political parties and corporate media.

Sriram Piston is a vendor company of Honda, Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Auto, Mahindra etc and it manufactures piston, ring, engine valve, pin etc. The production in the Bhiwadi unit started from 29th March, 2011. Some workers were transferred from the Ghaziabad unit, which has a puppet union, and most of the workers were freshly recruited. Now the plant has 1856 workers. Among them 560 are permanent, few are trainee, and remaining workers are ‘fixed term contract’ (FTC), illegally employed in the main production for three years on contract basis. The wage of an operator is Rs. 6000-7000, those who are experienced get a salary of Rs. 9000-10000.

The workers of the plant first initiated registration process of their union on 14th November, 2013 under the extremely exploitative-oppressive working condition and poor wage. As a consequence, the president of the union, Mahesh, was suspended by the management on 6th January. On 20th January, that file was cancelled. Then they filed another registration, this time with the help of AITUC, on 31st January, 2013. After this, continuous process of victimization started. Worker leaders were harassed, and many were restricted to enter the plant without any notice. When the workers decided to organize a meeting on 9th February, the general secretary of the union was picked up from his house by company goons and threatened on 8th February. On 1st March, the company management was successful to get a stay on the registration process of union from civil court by framing some false allegations. The workers, determined to get the registration of their union, called a meeting on 2nd March where more than 1600 workers, including the contract workers, turned up. The workers submitted their demand letter demanding more facilities and higher wage to the company management on 8th March. The company felt threatened by the unity of workers, and intensified repressive measures by suspending more workers. The management asked the workers to do overtime on 23rd March, which was a Sunday. Those who refused to do overtime were not allowed to enter the plant on the next day. The workers decided to occupy the plant premises and stop production. For the next five days, nearly 1000 workers were on sit-in strike inside the plant, and 800 workers sat outside the plat. On 28th March, the management agreed to take back all 22 suspended workers, including the president of the union, in next ten days, and thus a settlement was reached. But after that the management showed no intention to take back the workers. After few tripartite meetings in the labour department, when no solution appeared, the workers again stopped production on 15th April. Nearly 1200 workers of A and B shifts were sitting inside the plant, and the workers of the C shift, around 600, sat outside. A conciliation process was initiated by DLC, Alwar on 23rd April. But in that meeting, the president of the union was not allowed to participate and no conclusion was reached. The next meeting was fixed on 28th April. But as the election of Rajasthan got over on 24th April, the government-administration-police-company nexus decided to launch a planed attack on the workers.

On 26th April, at around 4.30 am, nearly 2000 police, including COBRA, RAF etc, surrounded the factory from three directions. They were accompanied by the 150-200 bouncers who were reserved by the company for last two months. The workers woke up and faced a severe lathi-charge, tear gas and firing. The police had 10 rounds of firing that caused bullet injury of three workers. Some workers had multiple fractures including head fracture. Bouncers attacked the workers with knives and rods. The workers decided to resist the attack by pelting stones, but that did not suffice. The bouncers set 4 cars on fire to blame it on the workers. In the meantime, the nearby villagers came out and stood solidly with the workers. The police was forced to retreat.

Because of the brutal lathicharge, around 150 workers got injured. 79 of them were admitted to Bhiwadi hospital. The condition of 4 workers became serious and they have been taken to Alwar hospital. Police have arrested 26 workers. Cases under section 147, 148, 149, 332, 353, 307 (attempt to murder), 120B (criminal conspiracy to kill someone) have been slapped against the workers.

Even after this brutal repression, the workers are continuing their struggle. They are on sit-in demonstration outside the company till their demands of union formation, revoke of suspension and proper settlement are met. Different unions and workers from different factories from Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal industrial region, including Nerolac, Honda, Maruti Suzuki, Autofit, FCC Rico and Munjal Showa, have come in support of this historic struggle of Sriram Piston Kamgaar Union.

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श्रीराम पिस्टन भिवाड़ी में बर्बर पुलिस दमन के बावजूद हड़तालरत कर्मचारियों का संघर्ष जारी है. वर्कर सॉलिडेरिटी सेंटर गुडगाँव की रिपोर्ट:

भिवाड़ी के पथरेडी औद्योगिक क्षेत्र में स्थित श्रीराम पिस्टन, जो कि दिल्ली मुंबई इंडस्ट्रियल कॉरिडोर का एक महत्त्वपूर्ण हिस्सा है, में हड़तालरत कर्मचारियों पर बर्बर पुलिस दमन कॉर्पोरेट मीडिया और राजनैतिक दलों द्वारा बहु-प्रचारित विकास मॉडल के वादों और उनकी सच्चाई को उजागर करता है.

श्रीराम पिस्टन एक वेंडर कंपनी है जो कि हौंडा, हीरो मोटरकॉर्प, मारुती सुजुकी, बजाज ऑटो और महेन्द्रा जैसी ऑटो कंपनियों के लिए ऑटो पार्ट्स बनाती है. श्रीराम पिस्टन मुख्या रूप से पिस्टन, रिंग, इंजन बॉल, और पिन का निर्माण करती है. भिवाड़ी संयंत्र में उत्पादन की शुरुआत २९ मार्च २०११ से हुई. कुछ श्रमिक गाज़ियाबाद इकाई से स्थानांतरित हो कर आये थे, जहां पर मैनेजमेंट कि एक कटपुतली यूनियन है. पर ज्यादातर मज़दूर नए भर्ती किये गए हैं. अभी प्लांट में १८५६ मज़दूर हैं, जिसमें से ५६० स्थायी हैं, कुछ ट्रेनी और बाकी मज़दूर गैरकानूनी रूप से ३ साल के अनुबंध के आधार पर (तय अवधि के अनुबंध या फिक्स्ड टर्म कॉन्ट्रैक्ट) कार्यरत हैं. एक ऑपरेटर की मज़दूरी ६०००-७००० रूपये है और अनुभवी मज़दूरों की मज़दूरी ९०००-१०,००० तक जाती है.

अत्यंत शोषणकारी काम के हालात और कम मज़दूरी से आजिज़ हो कर मज़दूरों ने १४ नवंबर २०१३ को यूनियन पंजीकरण की प्रक्रिया शुरू करी, जिसके परिणामस्वरूप यूनियन के अध्यक्ष महेश को ६ जनवरी के दिन प्रबंधन द्वारा निलंबित कर दिया गया. २० जनुअरी को यूनियन रेजिस्ट्रेशन की फाइल को रद्द कर दिया गया. फिर से उन्होंने ३१ जनवरी २०१३ को एटक की मदद से एक और बार यूनियन रेजिस्ट्रेशन के लिए फाइल लगाया. इसके बाद लगातार प्रबंधन द्वारा मज़दूरों पर दमन की प्रक्रिया शुरू हुई. लगातार मज़दूर यूनियन नेताओं को परेशान किया जाने लगा और बहुत सारे नेताओं को बिना किसी पूर्व सूचना के संयंत्र में प्रवेश से प्रतिबंधित कर दिया गया. जब मज़दूरों ने ९ फरवरी को एक बैठक आयोजित करने का निर्णय लिया, तभी कंपनी के गुंडों ने यूनियन के महासचिव को ८ फरवरी को उठा लिया और धमकियां दीं. १ मार्च को कंपनी प्रबंधन झूठे आरोप तैयार कर सिविल कोर्ट से यूनियन के पंजीकरण की प्रक्रिया पर स्टे प्राप्त करने में सफल रहा. पर मज़दूर यूनियन रेजिस्ट्रेशन के लिए दृढ थे, और उन्होंने २ मार्च को मीटिंग का आह्वान किया, जिसमें ठेका मज़दूरों सहित १६०० से ज़्यादा मज़दूर शामिल हुए. ८ मार्च को श्रमिकों ने कंपनी प्रबंधन को अपनी उच्च वेतन की मांग और बेहतर सुविधाओं के लिए मांगपत्र सौंपा.
तब कंपनी को कर्मचारियों के एकता से खतरा महसूस होना शुरू हुआ और उन्होंने कुछ और मज़दूरों को निलंबित कर मज़दूरों पर दमन तेज कर दिया. इसके अलावा, २३ मार्च को, जो कि रविवार था, प्रबंधन ने मज़दूरों को ओवरटाइम करने को कहा. जिन मज़दूरों ने रविवार को ओवरटाइम करने से इंकार किया, उनको अगले दिन प्लांट में प्रवेश से प्रतिबंधित कर दिया गया. तब श्रमिकों ने उत्पादन बंद कर प्लांट पर कब्ज़ा करने का फैसला लिया. अगले ५ दिनों के लिए लगभग १००० कर्मचारी संयंत्र के अंदर हड़ताल पर बैठे रहे और ८०० मज़दूर फैक्ट्री के बाहर बैठे थे. २८ मार्च को कंपनी प्रबंधन अगले १० दिनों में यूनियन के अध्यक्ष सहित २२ निलंबित मज़दूरों को वापिस लेने के समझोते पर सहमत हुआ. पर उसके बाद भी प्रबंधन द्वारा श्रमिकों को वापिस लेने का कोई इरादा नहीं दिख रहा था.

जब श्रम विभाग में कुछ त्रिपक्षीय बैठकों के बाद ही कोई समाधान नहीं दिखा, तो मज़दूरों ने १५ अप्रैल को उत्पादन फिर से ठप्प कर दिया. ए और बी शिफ्ट के लगभग १२०० मज़दूर फैक्ट्री के अंदर बैठे और सी शिफ्ट के ६०० मज़दूर फैक्ट्री के बाहर बैठे.

२३ अप्रैल को डी एल सी अलवर द्वारा सुलह की प्रक्रिया कि शुरुआत हुई, पर उस बैठक में यूनियन के अध्यक्ष को भाग लेने की अनुमति नहीं दी गयी और बैठक बेनतीजा खत्म हुई. अगली बैठक २८ अप्रैल को तय करी गयी. पर जैसे ही २४ अप्रैल को राजस्थान में लोकसभा का चुनाव खत्म हुआ, सरकार, प्रबंधन, पुलिस और प्रशासन ने मिलकर मज़दूरों पर सुनियोजित हमला करने का फैसला लिया. २६ अप्रैल को सुबह साढ़े चार बजे लगभग २००० पुलिस, जिसमें कोबरा और आर ए एफ के जवान भी शामिल थे, ने तीन दिशाओं से कारखाने को घेर लिया. उनके साथ १५०-२०० की संख्या में बाउंसर भी थे, जिनको कंपनी ने दो महीनों से रख रखा था. जब मज़दूर जगे, तो उन्हें भयंकर लाठी चार्ज, आंसू गैस और फायरिंग का सामना करना पड़ा. पुलिस ने १० राउंड गोली भी चलायी, इसमें ३ मज़दूरों को बुलेट इंजरी हुई. कुछ मज़दूरों को सर में फ्रैक्चर सहित कई जगह फ्रैक्चर हुए. बोउन्सेरों ने मज़दूरों पर रॉड और चाकुओं से हमला किया. मज़दूरों ने जवाबी करवाई में पथराव किया, जो कि पर्याप्त नहीं था. बॉउंसरों ने मज़दूरों पर दोष मढ़ने के लिए ४ कारों को भी आग लगा दिया. इसी बीच, पास के गाँव से ग्रामीण मज़दूरों के समर्थन में आये और उनके साथ खड़े रहे. उन्होंने पुलिस को पीछे हटने के लिए मज़बूर किया.

बर्बर लाठी चार्ज से १५० मज़दूर घायल हुए, जिसमें से ७९ को भिवाड़ी अस्पताल में भर्ती कराया गया. ४ मज़दूरों की हालत बहुत ही गंभीर है और उन्हें अलवर अस्पताल ले जाया गया है.

पुलिस ने २६ मज़दूरों को गिरफ्तार किया है और उनके खिलाफ १४७, १४८, १४९, ३३२, ३५३, ३०७ (हत्या का प्रयास), १२० बी (किसी को मारने के लिए अपराधिक षणयंत्र) के विभिन्न धाराओं के अंतर्गत केस दर्ज किया है. इतने क्रूर दमन के बाद भी मज़दूर अपना संघर्ष जारी रखे हुए हैं. वे यूनियन गठन की मांग, निलंबित कर्मचारियों को वापिस लेने और सारे मामलों के उचित निपटारे के लिए कंपनी के बाहर धरने पर बैठे हुए हैं. गुडगाँव-मानेसर-धारूहेड़ा-बावल औद्योगिक क्षेत्र के विभिन्न कारखानों के कई यूनियन और मज़दूर, जिसमें नरोलैक, हौंडा, मारुती सुजुकी, एफ सी सी रिक्सो के यूनियन भी शामिल हैं, श्रीराम पिस्टन के बहादुर संघर्षरत साथियों के समर्थन में आगे आये हैं.