The Advent of Neo-liberal reforms has brought with it many challenges for the working class of India. One of the most prominent changes among them is the rise in the number of contract/causal workers which have been employed in the industrial sector as well as in the various strata of society. The fact that industrial sector finds the idea of replacing permanent workers with contract workers has a rather obvious explanation. Paying less wages, flexibility in laying off the workers implies increase in the capital as well as profitability for an industry.
During the launch of PSLV rocket on June 30th, Prime Minister Narendra Modi boasted that India’s Mission to Mars is cheaper than the Hollywood movie Gravity. If there is one thing that is really cheap in India it’s the life of millions of workers who have migrated to urban Metropolitan cities from the rural areas in search of livelihood which the rural economy has failed to deliver as India is more and more adopting neo-liberal developmental model.
Solidarity and Support urgently needed!
With the strike of the Pradeep Laminator workers (Pune) entering the 80th day, the negotiations with the management has once again failed. One of the senior left labour activist and lawyer – Vaishali Sareen has started an indefinte fast on 14th March in support of workers demands.
Chakan industrial estate in the north of the city of Pune, India has hundreds of industrial units operating across various sectors, including engineering, automobile and packaging. Pradeep Laminators Pvt Ltd is one of these units. It manufactures flexible packaging material and employs more than 100 workers.
Workers from Swedish company Alfa Laval India Pvt Ltd. situated at Kasarwadi, Pune are on a strike for the last three months (from September) with their main demand to make them permanent. Alfa Laval is involved in the production of heat exchangers.
More than 400 workers are on strike. Of them, 80% are working in the company from last 10 to 15 years. Remaining have completed at least 4 to 5 years. Many of them are treated as trainees since their joining till date, with a payment roughly between Rs. 8000 to 10,000, which is hardly sufficient to make ends meet. The company did not make most of the workers permanent, when it should have after 240 days of joining, violating the labour laws of the land. Most of them were in fact hired as sweepers and cleaners on paper, when in fact they are actually involved in production and are trained workers with diplomas (ITI). The company currently has only 60 permanent workers and another 250 semi-permanent workers (who are yet to show solidarity with their striking compatriots and are affiliated to different unions).