Mar 21: Tata Motors strike

March 21, 2016

Tata Motors strike

Over 300 striking workers of Tata Motors’ Sanand plant and several
representatives of central and city-based trade unions were detained
by police and taken to Makarba police station on Saturday for trying
to hold a protest rally outside Sanand GIDC without police permission.
The rally was held by the workers after several rounds of talks with
the company officials – the latest being on Friday – failed to break
the four-week-long deadlock with the Tata management. About 422
workers at the plant have been on strike since February 22, demanding
reinstatement of 28 suspended workers by the company. Those detained
on Saturday included Gujarat Khedut Samaj leader Sagar Rabari,
Congress general secretary Laljibhai Desai, senior unionist Asim Roy,
among others.

After the Tata workers were let off by noon, the striking workers
decided to intensify their stir and hold another protest rally on
March 28.

“The workers are also planning to visit other nearby industrial areas
in the city, like Santej, Naroda and Vatva, and distribute pamphlets
and speak to other industrial workers regarding their plight. In the
rally on March 28, we will mobilise leaders who fronted the
Mandal-Becharaji SIR and Dholera SIR stir and give more strength to
the Tata workers agitation as we feel that while farmers are united in
their cause, the industrial workers of the state also need to come
together to fight for their rights,” said Sagar Rabari, Gujarat Khedut
Samaj leader.

“The Sanand mamlatdar denied permission for our protest rally on
Saturday, citing that the labour department had prohibited our strike
and that there was a mela at a dargah at Virochannagar nearby Viramgam
road in which the police will be deployed and that it will raise law
and order issues. The mamlatdar had also asked us to get nod from the
Sanand police which was not given to us. While we are hopeful of a
solution in fresh talks with the management on Monday, which will be
hosted by the labour department, if our demands are not met, we will
intensify our stir. Meanwhile, we will give signatures of all striking
workers to the Tata management by Monday which they had asked for in
the last tripartite talks,” said Harpalsinh Jhala, a representative of
the striking workers.

“All the leaders who led the Mandal-Becharaji SIR and the Dholera SIR
farmer agitation are set to join the rally in support of the Tata
Motors’ workers. We want to join the farmers’ movement with the
workers’ movement because they are interconnected as most of these
young workers are the sons of farmers. The agitation of the Tata
workers is clearly the failure of the Gujarat government’s development
claims, especially after the way the BJP government had gone to town
after Tata Motors shifted its Nano plant to Sanand from Singur,” said
Congress state unit general secretary Lajibhai Desai.

The workers assembled opposite Sanand GIDC Gate no 2 near the Tata
Motors plant site at around 11:30 am and shouted slogans.

After a few trade union leaders and Congress leader Laljibhai Desai
gave speeches, police started detaining the workers and took them to
the Makarba police station.

“The Sanand mamlatdar had sought for our opinion on granting of
permission for the protest rally by Tata Motors’ workers. However, we
did not grant it considering there would be law and order situation on
this highway which is ‘accident prone’ and because there is already a
terror alert declared in the state,” said P O Bhatt, dy SP in charge.

The tripartite talks held by the labour department on Friday saw Tata
Motors asking workers’ leaders to get signatures of 70 % of striking
workmen that they will unanimously accept the outcome of further
negotiation done by the newly registered union, which was referred to
as “ad hoc” by the company officials on Friday.