The right to take a piss

February 6, 2016

by Nayan Jyoti

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A worker at ‘world’s largest AC makers’ Daikin factory in Neemrana, Rajasthan wanted to go take a leak at around 11.30 am this morning (Feb 3). Producing an AC every 25 seconds for 8 hours on at a stretch with a half an hour break, takes a toll on the bladder among others. The assembly line stopped. When he got back, he was handed some foul mouthed niceties by the management, and the suspension letter.

Contract, casual, temp, apprentice, permanent, workers divided into many categories within the factory floor and beyond, came together and struck work. From around noon to around 3 pm, there was a complete halt of production. At 3pm, the suspended worker was forced to be taken back. In three hours of the stoppage of the global assembly line, a loss of maybe around 430 ACs and many crores for the company, but an expression of the power of collective action to regain one’s right to take a piss, to shout a slogan together, to heave a sigh of relief together, to halt the mad rush of dehumanizing profit-maximizing.

Not recorded in the counting of official figures of strikes and organisational representation, this is also not a one-off wildcat incident, but is grounded in a context when around 30 terminated Daikin workers sit on indefinite dharna in front of the Labour office in Jaipur since 16th December, as part of a two-year long ongoing struggle of the legally ‘stay-ordered’ (by the High Court) Daikin Kamgar Union against the regime of exploitation and repression in the factory in particular and in the Japanese-capital zone of Neemrana industrial area in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor in general. The struggle has been, since 2013, enthusing ‘precarious’ workers in the area to raise their own voices in their own sites of production, and at many times, organize together to do so.

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