The following press statement was released by Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU). 4 months after the violent clashes that erupted at the Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar (Gurgaon), without even a shred of evidence, about 149 workers are languishing in jail, 549 permanent workers have been terminated from their jobs and over 2000 contract workers have also been thrown out of their jobs.
The Bupinder Singh Hooda government in Haryana that has always behaved like a feudal overlord has left no stone unturned when it cones to attracting foreign/ domestic investors in the state with generous tax subsidies, highly ‘flexible’ labour laws and a highly repressive police force in dealing with labour unrest. The recent corruption scandal involving the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi – Robert Vadra and his real estate empire in Gurgaon, is a case in point on the nexus between the government (both Center & state), bureaucracy and the corporations that have routinely violated every law in the book to benefit themselves.
However, for the working class in Gurgaon, life has been a living hell and the plight of the Maruti Suzuki workers is a classic case of the high levels of exploitation in the industries and the kinds of repression faced by the workers there. This press statement reveals some of the gory details on the ordeals faced by the Maruti workers, with the workers systematically being tortured in jails and police intimidating any worker/ anyone daring to question the Maruti Suzuki management. Ever since the Maruti workers won their legitimate rights to form their own union after a long fought battle, the management of the Maruti Suzuki have had sleepless nights. The 18th July incident, that is still shrouded in mystery on who was actually responsible, formed the perfect backdrop for the management to break the union and silence the workers.
The New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) is in complete solidarity and supports all the immediate demands of the Maruti Suzuki workers.
The Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU: Reg. no. 1923) has decided to hold a protest dharna in the form of a two-day hunger strike on 7th and 8th November 2012. Our family members, relatives and well-wishers and organizations have staged regular protests across Haryana and given memorandum to all the ministers in the state but to no avail. We were not allowed to unite and express our side of the story and our indignation at being falsely implicated in the unfortunate incident of 18th July 2012.
So we are doing a united protest action of the 149 workers languishing in Gurgaon Central Jail for the last three-and-a-half months, and the 546 permanent workers who have been terminated from their jobs. We have all the solidarity of the around 2000 contract and casual workers who have also been unceremoniously thrown out of their jobs. All 149 workers will be on hunger strike inside the jail, and over 500 workers will sit in front of the Gurgaon Court/D.C. Office in Gurgaon from 10am on 7th November till 4pm on 8th November 2012, after which we will take out a rally to submit a memorandum to the local minister.
When this protest program was declared the day-before on 4th November, police intimidation, which we have already witnessed these three months, has increased manifold. The jail authorities of Gurgaon Central Jail have threatened to ‘beat up’ and increase the torture on our 149 fellow workers who go on hunger strike. All our elected Union representatives are lodged in jail – Among those in Gurgaon Central Jail include the entire leadership of our MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION body, who are portrayed as ‘killers’ even without any due impartial investigation, and having a complete silence on the role played by the company management in the incident of violence on 18 July 2012.
The Maurti Suzuki company, IMT Manesar currently operates under police cover and the condition of the few workers who work there are fear and overwork. The Manesar police summoned each worker inside the company to the police station and has threatened all of them of ‘dire consequences’ and termination if found to be even remotely in touch with any of the terminated workers and having found to be attending any meeting or dharna. This is complete violation of all democratic norms in the country.
We will however go ahead with our scheduled program and call upon all sections of workers, unions and common people to come in our support and join us on 7th and 8thNovember in front of the D.C. Office, Gurgaon, to bring out our side of the story which has been buried in the heap of company-driven misinformation and pro-company government actions. We have and will stand for our legitimate rights, the unity of all the workers against the exploitation by the Maruti management and its continuous attempts to ‘divide and rule’ over us, by segmenting us into permanent and contract, and now into jailed, terminated and working in intimidation. We appeal to all to join us and strengthen our struggle!
1. Institute an independent impartial probe into the incident of 18th July 2012, and into the role of the management in it.
2. Immediately release all the arrested workers. Stop all repressive measures by the police on workers-inside the jail, inside the company and outside- and on their family members and relatives.
3. Immediately reinstate all the 546 terminated workers and also give priority to reinstate temporary workers as permanents.
Imaan Khan, Ram Niwas, O. P. Jat, Katar Singh, Yogesh, Raj Pal, Mahabir
Provisional Working Committee,
MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION (MSWU)