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Home > South Asia Labour Activists Library > India: Workers Struggle at Maruti-Suzuki and Seven Other Factories in (...)

India: Workers Struggle at Maruti-Suzuki and Seven Other Factories in Manesar

10 October 2011

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October 8, 2011

The struggle of the workers in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, IMT Manesar refuses to die, and just when quietening under settlement truce, has stood 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.

The more than 10000 workers in these factories have stood with the struggling workers in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) and are demanded an immediate settlement to the issue of targeting of contract workers in MSIL since 3rd October 2011, and that the management of MSIL refrain from its continuous activity of unfair labour practices 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 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. 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 attack 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.

Nayanjyoti
- On behalf of Krantikari Naujawan Sabha
- in solidarity with struggling workers of Maruti Suzuki.