Update on Workers’ struggle at Maruti Manesar plant

October 15, 2011

MSEU Press Release on October 15

Click here to read the pdf file of the statement


Appeal letter to All Trade Unions, Organisations and Individuals

15th October 2011

We, the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU), Suzuki Powertrain India Employees Union (SPIEU) and Suzuki Motorcycle India Employees Union (SMIEU), have been on strike in our respective plants in Gurgaon-Manesar from the 7th of October, 2011, demanding our right to respectable and non-precarious employment and unionization. Our movement stands at a crucial juncture today, we therefore send this appeal to all the labouring people of the country and beyond, the trade unions and all other sections of society which have stood with us in solidarity to come forward with renewed vigour to take this movement forward.

Our struggle is not a struggle for a mere wage-hike of any one section of workers, but is a struggle for our dignity and right to organise. We struggle also more importantly for the contract workers among us, whose insecurity and precarious condition of existence is a burning issue before the entire labouring people of the country today, which puts the very framing of the available labour laws into question. We, permanent and contract workers, have and do stand united in this struggle.

To break our unity and resolve, the management of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Manesar is continuing to indulge in anti-worker activities and increasingly harass us with the absolute complicity of the state administration. The management from began violating the terms of the last agreement from the very next day of our calling off the 33day long strike continuing from August 29th till a settlement was reached on the 30th September. Going back on its word of treating the workers with respect, it has on the contrary been acting with vengeance, trying to create divisions among us. On the workers reporting for duty the day after the strike, the management flatly refused to let the over 1,200 contract workers enter the factory, so as to divide the unity between permanent and contract workers that this movement has achieved. It shuffled permanent workers from their workstations so that allegations of `production sabotage’ could be put on us. Such a shuffling of skilled workers, acustomed to and specialized at their specific tasks is far from being conducive to optimal production in the factory. Such a move therefore makes evident that fulling production targets are not a priority with the management at this point. The already inadequate bus service was also stopped to further harass us. Later contractors on the behest of the management used bouncers who threatened and attacked us recently in front of the factory gate on the morning of 7th Oct, this incident took a more blatant aspect when some goons came and beat us up at the factory gate on the 8th and threatened us for our lives. They even attempted to actualise their threat by coming with guns inside the Suzuki Motorcycle plant on the 9th morning and firing on our comrades there. All legal and illegal means have been used by the management to break our resolve and unity forged during the struggle in June and then again in August-September.

The state and central government is acting hand-in-glove with the management. Earlier it merely gave us empty promises after the company broke the spirit of the settlement by acting in anti-worker bad faith. Ever since we have been on strike due to circumstances created by the management, it has been issuing us show-cause notices instead of acting against the company which is habitually reneging on its promises and violating all labour laws, having turned all their instrument to implement justice to break our fight for a just cause. The number of police personnel, stationed inside the factory increased first to 1,500 and soon to 2,500. Having tried to push us into starvation by occupying the canteen and dismantling our set-up to cook food for those inside the factories, the management soon also blocked the water supply and locked up the toilets. Given that it had no problem in arresting our leaders last month on false charges, the attacks on some of our fellow workers and the brutal lathi-charge on the workers of Honda in 2005, we also think that brutal repressive force could be used any time on us.

With the company and the state acting together to control and oppress us, we feel the need to make a renewed appeal to all to extend and be part of our collective struggle. Since our struggle began, all workers, various Trade Unions and other sections of society have stood strongly by us. But now, the struggle in Maruti Suzuki has emerged as the concrete struggle of the around 8000 workers of the four plants of Suzuki group- Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., Suzuki Powertrain India Ltd., Suzuki Castings, Suzuki Motorcycle India Ltd. On 7th October, workers of another eight plants in IMT had also gone on a one day tool down strike in support.

WE, Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU), Suzuki Powertrain India Employees Union (SPIEU) and Suzuki Motorcycle India Employees Union (SMIEU) continue to sit on strike at our factory gates. Our movement has been able to achieve an unprecedented unity among permanent and contract workers, local and migrant workers and workers of all our plants forged in course of struggle by the initiative of all struggling workers; this we consider to be our greatest strength and are resolved to take this strength forward. We shall not relent until our demands are met and all workers are taken back unconditionally. No degree of sacrifice can deter us from seeing this fight to the end.

We appeal to all the workers and Trade Unions to extend concrete support in our struggle with both solidarity actions in their own factories, areas and before their own state governments and by contacting us and fighting this struggle with us. Even if a single worker sticks one poster on the wall facing an oppressive management, we consider it a concrete act of solidarity. The possibility that this strike and these solidarity actions are throwing up can lay the foundation of a new and more advanced phase of workers movement in our country, such that can compel each and every government and arrogant management to think many times before taking any anti-worker measure in the future.

In face of the brutal hand twisting of the workers sitting-in on strike in the Maruti Suzuki plant, by holding food and water ransom, we are now continuing our struggle outside our respective factory gates. It has now become evident that the Haryana administration is preparing for taking brutal and violent steps to smash our movement and disperse us from here. Such an assault will not just be on us but the right of all working people and we expect that would become the begininng of unprecedented protests in all corners and among all progressive sections of the country.

United in Struggle.

Shiv Kumar, General Secretary, MSEU
on behalf of MSEU, SPIEU and SMIEU


Workers of Maruti Suzuki Renew their Struggle : It’s time to learn from past errors and make it a broad movement.

by Bigul Mazdoor Dasta

Not a week has passed since the 33 day long lockout in the Manesar plant of India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki, that the workers are once again on path of struggle. Since the afternoon of October 7, around 2000 permanent, contractual and trainee workers have struck work and started a sit-in inside the factory premises. Outside the factory gates hundreds of contractual workers too are sitting on a ‘dharna’ since Friday. Showing solidarity with the Maruti workers, workers of other two factories of Suzuki company in the vicinity namely Suzuki Powertrain and Suzuki Motorcycles too went on strike as a result of which production has been stalled at these three factories including Maruti. Production in some other factories of Manesar was affected as a result of work stoppage by workers. All workers of shift ‘A’ and ‘B’ have joined the sit-in strike. Only workers of shift ‘C’, who are very less in number, are outside the factory gates but they too are with the strike.

It was clear from the day (1st October) when workers were coerced to sign an agreement which totally was in favour of the management that the workers will have to remain prepared for another round of attacks. The true face of Maruti management came into picture on the very next day when they refused to take back the contractual workers who had remained away from work during the lockout. Maruti management promised to take back the contractual workers on October 7 after the intervention of the Labor Department when this issue was raised by the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union. But on Friday when they went for the work they were stopped on the factory gates and were refused to enter. After this they started a ‘sit-in’ outside the factory gate.

The management went on to use cheap tactics to harass the permanent workers too. Many workers were shifted to different areas of the shop floor or handed new work on the assembly lines for which they neither have any experience nor training. And when this started affecting the production, the workers were threatened that they are intentionally y ‘going slow’ to hamper production. Media is being fed with reports of “sabotage” by the workers. It should be kept in mind that the ‘good conduct bond’ which the management forced the workers to sign, says that if any worker ‘goes slow’ or hampers the production process in any way, he can be thrown out without notice. The 44 permanent workers which are still under suspension were ousted on the same charges. To further harass the workers the bus service for the workers was withdrawn from October 3. As result of this it became difficult for the workers to reach on time as most of them have to travel long distances and the state of public transport in Gurgaon is very bad. Remember as per the semi-fascist rules of Suzuki management, up to Rs. 1500 can be deducted from the worker’s wages if he is late by only a few minutes.

After seeing what happened with the contractual workers, the permanent workers too realized that the management is hell bent on crushing them and the management is not going to adhere to its assurance of not being vindictive towards the workers. After this they decided to go on strike. Sonu Gujjar, president of Maruti Suzuki Employee’s Union said that workers have rejected the agreement signed on 1st October, as the management has first breached the agreement. There are four main immediate demands of the striking workers – 1. All contract workers should be taken back on work. 2. To immediately take back the 44 suspended workers. 3. To stop the harassment of workers by arbitrary changes in their work areas. 4. Bus service to be restored.

Labor Department officials were in “talks” with management since Friday, but the management is adamant on its stance. Haryana government is again parroting the Suzuki officials and has started to threaten the workers.

Indeed, these developments were not totally unexpected. The workers did not achieve anything in the agreement signed to end the 33 day lock-out. They had to accept the agreement from a position which was even weaker than when they started their protest on 29th August. The management shrewdly played the tiring out game during the month-long agitation and then coerced the workers with full help from Haryana government to sign the agreement. Workers had to sign the same “Good Conduct Bond” against which they started their struggle. Moreover, management denied to take back any of the 44 regular workers . Again, there was no talk about the issues of the Union and contract workers. In fact, the management had shown some flexibility during talks on September 16-17-18, but after that they toughened their attitude noting the inner weakness and directionlessness of movement . Most of the workers were already unhappy with this agreement and the management added fuel to it by their vindictive tactics. Thus, the workers’ embarking upon the path of struggle once again was just a matter of time.

Bigul Mazdoor Dasta has been appealing to Maruti workers from the time of their previous struggle that the only way to launch an effective fight is to make it a broad-based one. We talked frequently to their leadership and with a large number of workers and we also distributed three letters saying that their fight is not confined to some corrupt officials of the management and of local labour department, as many of the workers were thinking. Their fight is against the Suzuki Company, Haryana Government and the neoliberal policies. Japanese companies are infamous all over the globe for their fascistic management techniques and they are ready to any extent to crush the workers. In order to make Haryana a favored destination for foreign investment, the Haryana government has constantly shown its blatantly anti-worker face, be it the brutal suppression of 2006 Honda workers strike or other recent workers’ struggles. The economic policies being pushed through by the Indian government cannot be implemented without the super-exploitation of the workers. They must also know that workers’ rights, including the right to form a union are under attack all over the world. So this assault on the rights of Maruti workers can be fought back only through a broad-based working class unity and by conducting the struggle in a planned and organised manner.

We constantly appealed to the Maruti Suzuki workers that they must decide a concrete action program for their agitation and call upon the lakhs of workers working in different factories of Gurgaon-Manesar Industrial belt. We also put forward some concrete suggestions to conduct the struggle in a phased manner. We suggested that a ‘Mazdoor Satyagrah’ should be launched led by the Maruti Suzuki workers and it should be made into a broad struggle against the increasing tyranny and strong arm tactics by management and administration, violation of union rights, corruption in the labour department and super exploitation of workers in the entire Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal-Bhivadi industrial belt. Apart from sending formal letters by the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union seeking support to all unions in the area, workers should form squads and conduct factory gate meetings and door to door campaigns in worker colonies to enlist their support. Thousands of leaflets and posters should be printed. In the next phase of the struggle, all the workers in the National Capital Region should be called upon to participate in the struggle. All the workers in the automobile sector of the country must be called upon to raise their voice against the oppressive and inhumane working conditions at their respective workplaces. An appeal should be issued to automobile unions all over the world to lend support to this struggle. We told the Maruti workers that we have seen from experience while distributing leaflets and holding street corner meetings in their support that their agitation has a widespread support but a well planned action program and active mobilization is needed in order to convert this silent support into a force of struggle.

The issues raised by the Maruti workers are common issues of workers in Gurgaon region – in all the factories workers face forced overtime, inhuman workloads, salary cuts , contractualization, violation of union rights and are forced to work in a slave like environment and they have fought from time to time for these demands. Even basic labour laws are not followed anywhere. If the Maruti workers had given a call to the lakhs of workers working in the vast industrial belt and if the central trade unions had supported it genuinely and with their full strength, a mass mobilization would have been possible. However, the central unions neither had any intentions of developing it as a militant movement nor they have any wherewithal left in them to do so. They wrote articles hailing the struggle in their party organs or TU bulletins while their local leadership was busy in the game of one-upmanship. But sadly the leadership of Maruti workers was also unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation and the importance of conducting the struggle in a planned and organised manner.

The developments of the last few days have once again shown that the workers of Maruti Suzuki must prepare themselves for a difficult and broad fight ahead. The kind of support they got from workers of other factories on the very first day has shown that if they are able to reach out to the large sections of working class population with a concrete call this movement can be developed into a broad-based struggle. This alone can ensure victory for them


Strike in Maruti Suzuki and seven other factories in Manesar – The struggle continues

by Nayanjyoti (on behalf of Krantikari Naujawan Sabha)

October 7, 2011

The struggle of the workers in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, IMT Manesar refuses to die. Just when it seemed to be quietening under the settlement truce, it has reared up again, gathering political edge and crucial concrete support among workers in the area. In a significant development this morning, 7th October 2011, the workers in seven nearby factories along with workers of MARUTI SUZUKI INDIA LTD, IMT MANESAR have gone on strike. These are workers in the nearby plants of SUZUKI POWERTRAIN INDIA LTD. and SUZUKI CASTINGS (Plot 1, Phase 3A), and SUZUKI MOTORCYCLE INDIA PVT. LTD (in the Gurgaon-Manesar road), along with the workers of LUMAX AUTO TECHNOLOGIES LTD (165, Sector-5), SATYAM AUTO COMPONENTS LIMITED (26 C, Sector – 3), ENDURANCE TECHNOLOGIES LTD ( Plot no. 400, Sector 8), HI-LEX INDIA PVT LTD, (Plot No.55 Sector-3) completely halting production.

More than 10000 workers in these factories have stood with the struggling workers in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) and have demanded an immediate settlement to the issue of targeting of contract workers in MSIL since 3rd October 2011, and that the management of MSIL should refrain from its continuous activity of unfair labour practices and vindictive attitude, even after the settlement between the workers representatives and the management on 30th September.

Suzuki Powertrain India Ltd., which manufactures diesel engines and transmissions for supplies to MSIL and has an annual production capacity of 3 lakh units, has around 1250 trainees and permanents and over 600 contract workers; Suzuki Castings, a part of Powertrain, has around 375-400 trainees and permanents and over 500 contract workers, while Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd., has around 1200-1400 workers who relentlessly produce around 1,200 motorcycles and scooters a day. These around 4500 workers along with the over 5000 workers in the nearby plants of Lumax Auto Tech Ltd, Satyam Auto Components Ltd, Endurance Technologies Ltd and Hi-Lex India (P) Ltd., have joined forces with the around 1000 permanent workers inside the plant and the around 1200-1300 workers who sit outside at the gate of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.

The build-up to this strike has of course been the long struggle of the MSIL, under Maruti Suzuki Employees Union on the right to organize and unionise, against the vindictive attacks on workers by the management, with the state administration, police and even the media towing its line. The struggle which begun this time on August 29th during the attack by the management terminating and suspending 62 workers, came to a settlement between the management of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., IMT Manesar, and the workers representatives on 30th September 2011. A crucial aspect of the settlement was that the permanent workers union fought for the right of the 18 terminated trainees who otherwise have insecure nature of jobs. This, more than its economist nature, shows a political understanding and a unity among permanent and contract workers which is the basis of the strength of the struggle.

The settlement also binds the management to not take any action on the workers in ‘bad faith or with vengeance’ but this very unity of the workers during the struggle and after the settlement was not acceptable to the management of Maruti Suzuki, which is hell bent of breaking the spirit of solidarity and struggle among the workforce. For it, after partial production resumed this Monday, 3rd October, the management was more interested in furthering its agenda of attack on workers’ unity through various means rather than resuming production. A reshuffling on the assembly line was done to this effect, with workers who have worked for four years on a line, shifted to some other area on the shop floor. More importantly, the around 1000-1200 contract workers were not allowed to enter the factory premises and were turned back from the gate when they reported for duty on Monday. This was done, as is the management ploy in the area, to pit the contract workers against the permanent workforce and to break their unity.

When the leadership of Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) met the DC, Labour Commissioner and other state authorities against this unfair labour practice of the management of MSIL, and against the spirit of the settlement of 30th September, they got empty assurances, and dismissive attitude. The management was however adamant that its project of teaching the workers a lesson is not over and refused to budge from its position. It in fact, used a contractor, Rakesh, who brought in 10-15 ‘bouncers’ to threaten and physically assault the workers when they gathered outside the gate today, to provoke the workers so that the police could be brought in again.

These conditions of the complete anti-worker attitude of the management of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, its relentless vengeful attack on the solidarity of workers, its refusal of work to contract workers even after the settlement, its use of legal and illegal measures to crush the spirit of struggle of workers must stop immediately, and we appeal to all concerned to stand in solidarity with this continuing struggle of workers.


MSEU Press Release on September 19

We write this at a time when our movement is under attack from all quarters, and three of our leaders, namely, Sonu Kumar (the President of MSEU), Shiv Kumar (the General Secretary of MSEU) and Ravinder, have been arrested by the police in a completely unjustified and unlawful manner.

All concerned probably know the way in which processes unfolded over the past few weeks. Our leaders went to the negotiation table with the management of Maruti Suzuki and the Labour Department on the 16th of September. Talks were still going on today, when they broke down because the management stubbornly refused to take back those workers that had been thrown out.

We believe that the management, prepared for this eventuality, had already made suitable arrangements with the police and the administration. That the government and its police have been bought over by the company management is absolutely clear. When talks broke down at about 10:15 pm today, the police spared no time in arresting our leaders. The attempt, clearly, is to cripple our movement when we have refused to back down in the face of all threats and enticements.

It is known to us that Ravinder already has an FIR filed against his name; but Sonu Kumar and Shiv Kumar have never been charged before. However, looking at the foul play that the police are already indulging in, we are sure that our leaders will be charged of crimes they never committed.

This way or that, we will continue our struggle. We appeal to all to condemn such acts by this unholy alliance of the police, the government and the company management. We ask you to stand in our support, in the support of our movement, of our arrested leaders and against injustice.

Executive Member
Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU)


Statement condemning the arrest of leaders of the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union

People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), People’s Union for Civil Rights, Haryana and Citizens’ Front in Support of Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Struggle condemn the arrest of leaders of the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union last night even while the negotiations were going on.

MSEU President Sonu Kumar, General Secretary Shiv Kumar and Ravinder were arrested by the Gurgaon police around 10.30 PM on 18 September, as soon as they came out of the meeting with Maruti Suzuki officials. Talks were on since 16 September between the union, management of Maruti Suzuki and the labour department to end the lockout forced by the company since 29 August. Talks broke down late last night when the management refused to take back the dismissed and suspended workers. Apparently, the police were prepared for this and the union leaders were arrested immediately after that.

The police had filed an FIR against Ravinder alleging his involvement in a case of scuffle with some supervisors. But there was no case against Sonu Kumar and Shiv Kumar and they were leading the negotiations with the management. It is clear that the Gurgaon police and the Haryana government are acting at the behest of the company to crush the workers’ struggle for fully justified demands.

We demand that the arrested leaders be released immediately and talks should be restarted. The state government must stop acting as an agent of the company and intervene to ensure that workers get justice.

People’s Union for Democratic Rights, (Delhi)
People’s Union for Civil Rights, (Haryana)
Citizens’ Front in Support of Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Struggle


MSEU Press Release on September 16

We, the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU), as representatives of the workers of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, IMT Manesar, send this appeal to all concerned for financial help in the struggle fund, at a juncture when our struggle has entered a crucial phase. All workers in the industrial belt of Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal and from all across the country and beyond have expressed solidarity with us, and our fellow workers in Suzuki Powertrain India Ltd., Suzuki Castings and Suzuki Motorcycle have especially shown concrete solidarity. We have also received solidarity greetings from all sections of society concerned with the struggle of workers.

We reiterate our demands of the right to organise and unionise, to withdraw all charge-sheets against workers, and revoke the termination and suspension of workers since August 29th, and for the just demands of the contract workers. We condemn the adamant attitude of the Maruti Suzuki management who are using their money and muscle power, coercion and intimidation against workers.

As the struggle continues, we appeal to all to help us by contributing to the struggle fund. You can send your contributions directly to:

Account no. 002101566629
IFSC code: ICIC0000021
Branch- Gurgaon, Sector-14, Haryana, India.

Please inform us by email at: mseu.manesar@gmail.com so that we could confirm that we received your contribution to the struggle fund.

Struggling greetings,
Sonu Kumar (President); Shiv Kumar (General Secretary); Sumit Kumar (Treasurer)


Update on the workers’ movement in the Suzuki plants
by Nayan Jyoti

The struggle in Maruti Suzuki is at a crucial juncture, as around 4500-5000 workers in three of Suzuki’s plants continued their solidarity with the over 3000 workers of MSIL.

This is on the initiative of the plant-level young workers’ spontaneity and solidarity, whose independent but united might, is holding forth.

Yesterday 15th September, the corporate media, singing the company’s tune, splashed across newspapers that “violence erupted as workers attack supervisors.” It even figured out some arbitrary number, and quoted Maruti Suzuki management saying: “the striking workers have polluted the environment in Manesar. Such actions are damaging for the industrial climate in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt. They will destroy jobs and prosperity in the region.” Behind him, the company logo beams “Count on us”.

But yesterday’s confrontation happened while the company was trying to force three buses with some contract workers inside the plant, under police and management muscle protection. Workers sitting at the factoy gate asked the new contract workers to join in the agitation in solidarity and tried to stop the buses. This led to a confrontation when the management and police attacked workers, 4 of whom were injured, and arrested, one of whom had not been let off till late last night.


Strike at Suzuki’s Plants: the Struggle Rages on

by Nayan Jyoti

September 14, 2011

The struggle of the workers of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (MSIL, Plot 1, Phase 3A), IMT Manesar united as MARUTI SUZUKI EMPLOYEES UNION (MSEU) is spreading like a prairie fire in the Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal industries belt, finding crucial support among the workers in the area.

In a significant development, today evening, 14th September, around 3-3.30 pm, when the shift-change happened, workers in three more factories of Suzuki in India, with production chain linkage with Maruti Suzuki, have gone on strike. These are workers in the nearby plants of SUZUKI POWERTRAIN INDIA LTD. and SUZUKI CASTINGS (Plot 1, Phase 3A), where the recently formed SUZUKI EMPLOYEES UNION operates, and workers in SUZUKI MOTORCYCLE INDIA PVT. LTD in the Gurgaon-Manesar road.

The workers are on a sit-in strike inside these three factories, completely stopping production. Suzuki Powertrain India Ltd., which manufactures diesel engines and transmissions for supplies to MSIL and has an annual production capacity of 3 lakh units, has around 1250 trainee and permanent and over 600 contract workers; Suzuki Castings, a part of Powertrain, has around 375-400 trainee and permanent and over 500 contract workers, while Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd., has around 1200-1400 workers who relentlessly produce around 1,200 motorcycles and scooters a day. All of these around 4500 workers, have gone on strike in solidarity with the struggling workers of Maruti Suzuki in IMT Manesar, and have said that they are determined to continue till the demands of the workers of Maruti Suzuki, organised as MSEU are met.

The workers of Maruti Suzuki, IMT Manesar have been struggling against the conditions of unending days-and-nights of exploitation and repression in the factory, which resulted in the charge-sheet, termination and suspension of 57 workers since Aug 29th. The MSEU is demanding the withdrawal of the charge-sheet, termination and suspension of the 57 workers, their right to organise and unionise and the just demands of the contract workers.

Along with expressing support for the workers of Maruti Suzuki, the workers in the three factories are also vocal about the oppressive conditions in their own factories, and also demand regularisation of the contract workers in their respective factories. The issue of Unionisation and permanent status to contract workers is surfacing as the major issue in the region finding a resonance with the workers struggle in the rest of the country. The significant­ thing about this strike in the three factories is also the plant-level workers spontaneity and unity rather than the top-down approach of the big central trade unions, who are now slowly coming in support. Concrete support from independent, even factory-level trade unions in the area and beyond is thus a significant development.

The Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal is afire with workers struggle as in the wake of the MSEU’s spirited fight. In the nearby auto-parts manufacturing plant of MUNJAL SHOWA, IMT Manesar (Plot No. 26 E & F Sector 3) on 12 September, all of its 1200 contract ‘trainee’ young workers went on strike against its horrible working conditions and arbitrary hire-and-fire policy, where workers were paid a meagre around Rs.4000-4800, even lower than the Haryana minimum wage rate. In the settlement inked last night 13th September, at 12 pm, the management was forced to make 125 workers permanent, and to promise that after completion of 3 years of training, all workers will be made permanent. This is a historic victory of workers in the area who struggle against internal segmentation of labour, and prepare to wage a determined and united struggle against capital.

However, MARUTI SUZUKI is continuing with its adamant stance and spreading misinformation that the production has resumed (while it is not so as the MSEU’s release makes it clear) and that it can go on with recruiting new workers and ‘robots’ if the workers do not sign the ‘good conduct bond’. The biggest automobile manufacturer in India, with a passenger car market of 45%, whose spending on ‘employee cost’ has decreased to a mere 1.9% of its total spending in 2010-11 is increasing contractualisation, even as it builds an empires on the exploited and alienated labour of the workers. It is responding by using ‘bouncers’, state police and administration and corporate media on its payroll, and attacking workers with misinformation, legal (with a willing State in tow) and illegal threats and coercion.

The struggle in the Maruti Suzuki plant in IMT Manesar has found strong support from the strike action in the three factories of Suzuki India today. It is a difficult road ahead still for the workers who are facing the might of the company and state. We as part of the larger solidarity effort and forum in coordination with the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union’s effort, appeal to all concerned to stand in solidarity with the workers’ struggle.



12TH September 10 A.M.

THE workers, both permanent and contract, of Maruti Suzuki Industries Ltd. in IMT Manesar, Haryana are struggling against the company’s exploitative and repressive ways of functioning and the willing state government, administration and police. They demand the recognition of their Union, oppose the termination and suspension of workers from August 29th for their just demands, and the company’s baseless charges on workers who raised their voices and false propaganda that production has resumed even as it is practically at a halt. They stand united as Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) which is rallying the workers of the company, as workers and Unions in the Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal industrial belt and all over India stand in support.

Today, 11th September, the MSEU after its joint meeting with representatives from around thirty Unions, reiterated its demand of the right to organise and unionise, to withdraw the charge-sheet, termination and suspension of 57 workers, and to stand with the just demands of the contract workers for their wage-hike and withdrawal of suspensions and against the company’s easy hire-and-fire policy and that till these are met, they will not enter the factory.

The MSEU has given a call for a rally and blockade of Gurgaon tomorrow morning 12th September at 10am. All Unions and workers in the area will join with the struggling Union’s effort.

WE, all student and youth organisations and concerned individuals, condemn the exploitative ways of Maruti Suzuki and stand in solidarity with the legitimate demands of the workers for the right to unionise, the unconditional withdrawal of charge-sheet, termination and suspension of 57 workers, the withdrawal of the good-conduct bond, and the just demands of the contract workers.

WE call upon all students and youth to join the rally of the workers of Maruti Suzuki tomorrow 12th September in Gurgaon in solidarity with its struggle. It will start at 10 am from Kamala Nehru Park in Gurgaon.

signed jointly by:

Krantikari Naujawan Sabha (KNS)
Democratic Students Union (DSU)
All India Students Assiociation (AISA)
All India Students Federation (AISF)
Students For Resistance (SFR)
Vidyarthi Yuvajan Sabha (VYS)


Pamphlet released by Krantikari Naujawan Sabha

September 10, 2011

The story of those who make all stories possible is a simple one of every moment’s struggle. The around 3000 workers in Maruti Suzuki in Manesar, Haryana, more than half of whom are hired on contract, are extremely angry, and this collective anger is one of the most lethal arms that they possess. It arises from discontent of the unending days and nights of alienated labour, reduced to being mere parts of the machine, torn from his fellow workers by the attack on the right to organise. The worker lives and bleeds to death, faces insults and feels fatigue, thirsts for water and suppresses his urine, all this, only so that the assembly line goes on. In this nerve centre of the automobile industry, the Plot no.1, Phase 3A of the Industrial Model Town Manesar, a Swift and an SX4 model car is assembled in 38 seconds. 1250 squeezed out per day. Super-profits of the bosses. Efficiency. Development. Growth. Consumer satisfaction. A ‘happy’ middle class family.

Maruti Suzuki Industries Ltd., the biggest automobile company in India with a passenger car market share of over 45%, promises a “way of life”. For this, it spent a reported Rs. 2000 crores on advertisement alone in a year (so the bent-back welcome to its lies from Wall Street Journal to all the so-called objective corporate media in India). As its profits soar in geometric progression, its financial statement says it spent a mere 1.9% as total employee cost in the year 2010-11, down from 3.5% in 2001 and 2.3% in 2008. When in June this year, the young workers all in their 20s, demanded their right to organise, and filed for Union registration on 3rd June, the company sent its ‘bouncers’ to literally arm-twist the workers into signing a blank sheet of paper to give up their demand for this minimum of respect. The workers struck work on June 4th and continued a sit-in inside the factory for 13 days till June 16th. The suspension of 11 workers was revoked.

Made to cower down momentarily in face of the workers’ fight, the company, with blood on its hands from crushing the workers movement in early 2000 in its Gurgaon plant, plotted revenge and Shinzo Nakanashi, the MD threatened that workers must be “educated”. Cockroaches and dead flies begun to be found in the food in the hurried lunch-break of 30 minutes that workers earn in the canteen ½ km from the working station. The tea was without tea leaves or sugar in the 7 minute break, as workers would go to the bathroom running with a snack in the mouth, tea cup in one hand, unzipping with the other hand, before the bell rings and the assembly line resumes. The company doctor would give heavy doses of ‘instant’ medicines even on any minor complaint by a worker, only so that disruption of work could be prevented. The disease then returns in greater degree and one day’s wage cut of Rs.1500, two days Rs.2200, three days cut of Rs.7-8000 is implemented, so that almost the total month’s wage is cut. One second late into punching-card entry is a day’s wage cut, but he cannot then go out of the factory but has to give his full production for that day too.

Meanwhile, with ‘development’, ‘growth’, ‘consumer satisfaction’ involved, the willing State too lends its full support (rejecting the minimum demand for registration of the workers’ Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) as a pre-independence day gift on 14th August; police force of 500 send to occupy the factory to ‘prevent violent activities’ as a pre-emptive measure on August 28th night). The company then terminated 11 workers and suspended 38 on August 29th and 30th on false charges demanding a ‘good-conduct bond’ (read: humiliation by law), with the state police and administration, the media (which is singing the management’s tune that production has resumed), and ‘bouncers’ on its payroll as its willing pawns.

Inside the factory, with cameras even in the bathrooms, the company’s evidence-less charges of ‘indiscipline’ and ‘sabotage’ or go-slow in production are baseless. Is it remembering the death penalty for ‘industrial sabotage’ implemented in an emerging industrial England with the 1812 ‘frame breaking act’, that corporations clamour for more ‘solid’ laws? The language now is ‘flexible’ labour laws for a more insecure and ‘mobile’ labour force. In fact, contractualisation of labour is fast becoming the definitive burning issue before the working class. The workers, both permanent and contract, in Maruti Suzuki however stand united in this struggle.

In such a situation, the current demand of the recognition of a Union that the workers feel represents their interests becomes the first step towards demanding the end of such despicable working conditions and back breaking extraction of labour which make profit and strength of the company possible in the first place. The Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) is demanding as an immediate measure, the withdrawal of the charge-sheet, termination, suspension of the 49 workers. The workers are sitting day-and-night at the factory gate, peeling off the layers of Maruti Suzuki’s “way of life”.

The significance of the current struggle in Maruti Suzuki’s assembly plant where workers anger and corporate-state power battle, can only be fully comprehended in view of its impact in the vast network of arteries of the industry in the area and beyond of which Maruti sits at the centre, exhausting a low paid, ‘mobile’ workforce with the normalcy of exploitation. On 1st Sept, on the call of the MSEU, in solidarity with all the workers of MSIL, Manesar, over 5000 workers assembled at the factory gate no.1 for a dynamic gate meeting and juloos that followed in the IMT Manesar area. On the 5th September again, around 4000 workers rallied till the highway to block it. The Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal industrial belt in Haryana is stirring up in solidarity and protest by workers and Unions in the area. The social power of these young workers is tangible with the thunderous camaraderie that erupts when workers and others join in solidarity.

This struggle erupts as a continuation of rising tide of workers` struggles in Gurgaon-Manesar with the most prominent being the police attack on a demonstration of Honda (HMSI) workers in July 2005. In May 2006, immediately after a five day occupation at Hero Honda by 3,000 contract workers, tools were laid down in the supplying plant of Shivam Autotech. Similar situations at HMSI and Delphi have also arisen after that. The Rico Auto 43-day strike happened in September 2009 with one lakh workers in the area going on a one-day general strike which shook not only the entire area but stopped production lines in General Motors in the US. This present struggle thus, more than itself, is important in the possibilities it shows ahead for working class struggle and the struggle of the masses in crisis.

We know and realise even better with the ongoing struggle in Maruti that profit depends on one most significant variable- exploitation of working people. This is true from POSCO Orissa to Maruti Manesar, where the potentiality of the masses is violently disrupted on one hand by displacement and uprootedness, and then boxed up in daily routines, shift rhythms and distorted social relations. We realise that exploitation is not an event or a spectacle but married to how ‘normalcy’ is produced. As young women and men faced with the crisis of the system as it stands, we realise that this and other such struggles of the workers and masses expose the skeletons on which the grand houses of riches are built. As a youth organisation, Krantikari Naujawan Sabha, seeks to expose the limitations of the present system from a left revolutionary perspective, seeking a living political process. Rather than ending up ‘interpreting’ Marx’s 11th thesis “Philosophers have only interpreted the world so far. The point however is to change it”, a direction is sought towards really changing the world.

With the struggle in Maruti Suzuki, we stand as part of the larger solidarity effort and forum which is in coordination with the Union’s effort.

sd/- Subhashini, Arya, Akash, Imtiaz


Students’ Solidarity With Maruti Workers

A report by AISA. September 6, 2011

On 3 September, a team of some 70 students from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia formed a solidarity team to visit the Maruti workers who are on dharna against an llegal lockout at the Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant. The visit had been organised by the All India Students’ Association (AISA).

When the busload of students reached the site of the strike, the 2000 workers at the dharna site leapt up to greet them, waving scores of red flags and shouting slogans.

The Maruti-Suzuki authorities have transformed the whole factory into an iron curtained ghetto where all the entrances were sealed with corrugated sheets, with private security guards and security cameras and video-cameras watching the workers’ movement. Two police vans, (vans provided by Maruti) were always at the site and the police officers were seen taking refreshments from the security guards employed by the authorities.

The leader of the workers’ independent union (MARUTI SUZUKI EMPLOYEES UNION – MSEU), Comrade Sonu Gurjar gave us a brief summary of the struggle, and invited students to address the workers. Sandeep Singh (National President, AISA) addressed the workers. Kavita Krishnan and Prabhat Kumar, central committee members of the CPI(ML) also addressed the workers. Students sang revolutionary songs and the poet Vidrohi recited his poetry.

The present struggle of the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) is against the illegal lockout, termination of 11 workers and suspension of 38 workers. Since 29 August, the Maruti management has declared that only those workers who sign a ‘Good Conduct Form’ (which denies the workers the minimum rights of grievance redressal through protests and strikes) can enter the factory. Near the factory’s main gate, a recorded message is played repeatedly, announcing that workers can enter only if they consent to signing the ‘Good Conduct form.’

Copies of the 29 August notice are pasted outside the walls of the factory. The entire workforce of the Manesar plant has refused to sign away their rights, and have demanded that the ‘Good Conduct form’ be revoked and the (undeclared) lockout called off.

Groups of workers attend the dharna in ‘shifts.’ As we waited for the workers of the evening shift to arrive, student activists interacted with groups of workers. They eagerly shared with us details of their working conditions. Talking to them, a clear outline emerged of the inhuman conditions in which the workers of one of the most prosperous industries of the country have to work. We were told that

· The production capacity of the factory is 1200 cars per day where as the workers are forced to produce 1400-1470 cars per day in the factory, which makes the production conditions stressful and inhuman for the workers.

· All workers have to pass through a 3 year training period during which no labour laws are applicable. At the end of the 3-year period they receive uniforms, and are supposed to be made permanent. Instead, many of them remain frozen as ‘trainees’ and their permanent appointment is delayed.

· Working period of 8 hours exclude lunch and tea breaks. The workers are provided with a recess of 7 minutes between 2 hours of continuous work. In this limited time the worker has to have refreshments as well as visit the toilet.

· The electronic attendance machine installed by the administration marks a worker absent for half a day and cuts his salary even if he is one minute late and continues to work through that half day.

· There is no provision of casual leave or sick leave and if a worker goes on holiday for 1 day the amount deducted is Rs. 1500, for 2 days it is Rs. 2200, for three days it is Rs. 7000-8000.

· If a worker goes on holiday the amount deducted is 1500 but if he works overtime on a holiday then he will be paid Rs. 250 only.

· There is no proper health facility. Only if a worker is admitted to a hospital for 24 hrs only then the company reimburses 80% of the expenditure. No reimbursements are offered for medical expenditure on family members.

· Conveyance is a major problem, as the buses though apparently provided by the company, charge fare from workers.

· The management stints on safety equipment. Gloves become unusable soon – but they are made to turn the gloves inside out and re-use, resulting in rashes and allergies.

· Against all such inhuman conditions, the workers at the Maruti’s Manesar plant sustained a 13-day long strike from 4 June-17 June. The right to form an independent union emerged as the key demand of this strike, even as the management refused to recognise any union except the pro-management Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union. The strike ended when the company agreed to take back 11 terminated workers. In principle the management also agreed that an independent plant-level union could be allowed as long as it had no ‘outsiders.’ This time around, in August, the management issued the ‘Good Conduct’ notice, amounting to an illegal lockout. The workers have been on dharna ever since.

· The workers who are inside the plant are brought to the work site in covered trucks and are under continuous surveillance of the police. The Maruti authorities have brought workers from other plants and trying to run the production but production in these unusual conditions are associated with life risks and other hazards. Some workers reported that under similar situations in 2006, six workers who were brought by the authorities from outside died inside the plant in an accident. The death of these workers was completely erased from public notice by surreptitious means by the Maruti authorities.

Towards evening, the workers had to shift their dharna tent to across the road, as the management had obtained a court injunction against any protest within 100 metres of the factory.

As the evening shift of workers gathered, once again, there was enthusiastic slogan shouting. Kuldeep Janghu, General Secretary of the Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union (which holds sway in the Gurgaon plant of Maruti-Suzuki), came to address the workers. He reported that he had received a letter proposing talks on 5 September to resolve the dispute. Students again greeted the new batch of workers before leaving in the late evening.

Most of the workers at the Manesar plant are young, educated and skilled. These young men have sustained two major agitations within a span of a few months – in the face of severe odds. The road ahead is certainly not smooth for them, but their spirit is inspiring and contagious.

Ironically, while workers’ right to unionise is under attack, the bosses’ corporate cartels are getting great recognition from governments! For example, in the past few days, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) have been loudly demanding ‘flexi’ labour laws and the right to lay off even permanent employees during slowdowns! The Maruti management’s lockout is clearly illegal and a blatant instance of unfair labour practice – yet the Congress Government in Haryana as well as at the centre are silent on such flagrant flouting of labour laws.

The UPA Government and main opposition NDA have a consensus in favour of doing away with the labour laws that protect workers’ rights. In this backdrop of a countrywide offensive against labour laws, the Maruti Workers’ struggle assumes significance far beyond that of a single factory. Their struggle is a defiant sign of workers’ refusal to surrender the hard-won rights or to relinquish the bare minimum norms of industrial democracy.

All India Students’ Association (AISA)


MSEU Communiqué: 5th September 2011

As you know, from 29th August when Maruti Suzuki Industries Limited, MSIL, Manesar (Plot 1, Phase 3A) terminated 11 and suspended 38 workers, the production is effectively at a halt in the plant. The company has been splashing rumours across the media that production has resumed through some ITI-trained contract workers and has been quoting figures of 125-150 etc. of the number of cars produced in the plant.

We, Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU), send this communiqué on the situation since August 29th to lay out the real picture. The company has gone on a recruitment drive through contractors in the area, after dismissing its own workers, and has hired some contract workers in a desperate bid to start production. However, these workers do not have the knowledge, honed through years of skilled work, required to run the production. Of these new contract workers, many who have come out of the plant in solidarity with the workers outside, having stayed inside for past four days, tell us that they tried to operationalise the production line, being forced by the management for 1-2 days. But being unsuccessful, they had to push some cars down from the line, instead of the models going through the entire process, including proper inspection.

When earlier all over 3000 workers, permanent and contract, worked stretched to their full capacity, the company somehow used to produce 1000-1200 cars every day. And now, can the 120-odd untrained workers and its handful of engineers and supervisors produce anything? The production was at a total halt in the beginning of last week, and in the last 2-3 days, a meagre 8-10 cars were produced in the plant, which are all faulty models somehow clubbed together, as the company fakes its figures and tries to instil consumer confidence. The Swift model which is produced in this plant has at present 80000 bookings. In this situation the company is unable to run any proper production of cars, and is resorting to churn out faulty models. The company may send these faulty models to the market, so it could also be blamed on us later as it has done till now. At the same time, some few management and staff are also conniving with other companies so that they could dig in their own profits from this, again conveniently blaming the workers.

We want to tell everyone that unlike what the company and the media are painting us as- undisciplined and adamant saboteurs- we have a commitment for our work and value what we produce with our sweat and blood. It is we workers who produce, and not the impersonal company and its robots.

So we appeal to consumers to stop buying Maruti Suzuki cars till we workers sit at the factory gate, as it will entail in your loss, given the manner in which they are being produced. WE also appeal to all concerned to stand in solidarity with our struggle to end termination, suspension and charge-sheet, and to establish our right to unionise.


Struggle Continues as Production is at a Complete Halt

From Shiv Kumar (General Secretary, MSEU)

September 1, 2011

The management of Maruti Suzuki Industries Limited, Manesar plant (Plot 1, Phase 3A) has terminated 11 and suspended 38 workers on 29th and 30th August 2011, on completely fabricated charges of go-slow in production and that workers have been ‘undisciplined’. It is doing this as a continuation of harassing workers for our struggle for the right of Union formation and other legitimate rights from June 4th to 16th. It is using brute police force to intimidate us, and is also continuing to pay and use bouncers and lumpen force to continuously threaten us. The management is also spreading a rumour that the production has resumed yesterday 31 August through a handful of contract workers, some supervisors, engineers and robots. This disinformation campaign has also been splashed across the media.

We on behalf of Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) want to reiterate that production is at a complete halt, and not even a single car has been produced since 29th August 2011. All workers of the company, both permanent and contract, stand in solidarity and continue to wage struggle for our rights and against the management’s adamant attitude.

Today evening, 1st September, on the call of the MSEU, in solidarity with all the workers of MSIL, Manesar, over 5000 workers assembled at the factory gate no.1 for a dynamic gate meeting and juloos that followed in the IMT Manesar area. This includes workers from many factories in the Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal industrial belt in Haryana, including workers from Maruti Suzuki Gurgaon plant, Suzuki Powertrain Manesar, HMSI, Hero Honda, FCC Rico, Rico Auto Dharuhera, Rico Auto Manesar, Omax, Lumex, Sona Steering and many others. Workers and representatives of various Unions from the factory-based independent Trade Unions to central trade unions AITUC, HMS, CITU, INTUC, NTUI, AICCTU have solidly expressed solidarity with us. People from surrounding villages, as well as students, youth from universities and colleges in Haryana and Delhi and many intellectuals also participated in the meeting in solidarity with the workers.

We demand, as immediate steps, that the company revokes the termination of 11 workers and suspension of 38 workers. We also demand that it withdraw its charge-sheet imposed on the workers from June till now.

We appeal to all to stand in solidarity with our struggle in the coming days.


Appeal to Join Rally with Maruti Workers in Manesar on 1st September


After having terminated 11 workers and suspended 10 on 29th August, 28 more workers have been suspended on 30th August by an adamant management/owners of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, IMT Manesar (Plot 1, Phase 3A) leading to a total of 49 workers being shown the door on fabricated charges of go-slow action in production and supposed ‘indiscipline’ by workers. Gun-totting police force of around 500, along with bouncers on the payroll of the company still occupy the factory. A lumpen force flush with the company’s money threaten workers on dharna outside and harass us even in the areas of residence nearby. We are forced to acknowledge that this is the real face of the company’s slogan “way of life”.

After the 13-day strike in June (4th-16th) this year and the interim agreement between the company and workers on 16th June, the management has been relentlessly harassing the workers who have dared to raise their voices. That the demand for Union formation and workers’ rights forged through an unprecedented unity among the around 1200 permanent and over 2500 contract workers inside the factory have only increased, is not acceptable to the company which has its hands full of blood having crushed the workers’ movement in the Gurgaon plant in 2000-01. That all workers in this industrial belt, and almost all Unions, independent and affiliated, have and are continuing to express solidarity with the workers of Maruti is a threat to the bosses and the rulers.

As the struggle continues, We from Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU), appeal to all to lend support and solidarity to the workers of Maruti Suzuki in the coming days. The workers and Unions in the industrial belt of Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal in Haryana stand in solidarity with us and many from across the country have also expressed solidarity.

We have called for a juloos-rally from the factory gate no.2 in Manesar, Haryana at 4 pm tomorrow 1st of September 2011, and appeal to all to join us.

Shiv Kumar
General Secretary, MSEU


Production stops at Maruti after 21 workers are terminated and suspended

Received from Nayan Jyoti

This morning, 29th August, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, IMT Manesar (Plot 1, Phase 3A) terminated 11 workers and suspended 10 more, on flimsy and distorted (read: vengeful and punitive) grounds of ‘indiscipline’ and a supposed go-slow action in production by workers. The company has also imposed a ‘good conduct bond’ (read: humiliation ‘by law’), only after signing which, workers can enter the factory premises. Meanwhile around 500 policemen of Haryana and riot-police have occupied the factory since yesterday evening, with the excuse of ‘preventing violent actions’. This preemptive action totally exposes, again, whose police the state forces are. Accompanying and reinforcing the police, are ‘bouncers’ on the company’s employ, and some 8-10 tough-men who have been bought over by the company from the surrounding village being used to threaten the workers. Apart from the 21 permanent workers, terminated and suspended, everyday around 2-5 casual and contract workers have been terminated since the agreement on the 16th of June.

The production is at a halt, as workers have refused to bow down to the company’s dictates, and are standing united in struggle. Other workers in the industrial area are also expressing solidarity with the workers. Many Unions, independent and affiliated, have also come in support, and stand against the company’s draconian actions.

All the 11 terminated workers had been earlier reinstated after a prolonged battle with the company which included a 13-day strike (June 4th-16th) by all workers and unprecedented solidarity among workers and other Unions in the industrial area of Gurgaon-Manesar in Haryana. This strike action was in the context of the demand of the workers to form their own Union, the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU), and against exploitative working conditions and other legitimate workers’ rights. After this defeat of the company, many business honchos had pointed out that this reinstatement sets a bad example to the industry as other workers’ would start demanding their rights too.

The Haryana government, hand-in-glove with the powerful company’s “way of life”, rejected the demand of the workers Union on August 14th as a pre-independence day gift to workers, saying that the management-run Union, the MUKU is already in place (even though all the workers have resigned from it, saying it represents the company and not workers). After it becoming clear that the state is ready to do everything to help the company, said Shinzo Nakanishi, MD, MSIL, in a threatening tone, “change will come about gradually through education.” The company has been preparing for an attack since the agreement after the strike, and has mobilised the government, the labour department, the judiciary, the police, bouncers, corporate media, apart from its in-factory harassment techniques, to weed out ‘troublemakers’(read: workers who stand up for their rights).

We appeal to all to lend support and solidarity to the workers of Maruti Suzuki, who have a difficult struggle ahead and are determined to take it forward united.