Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An appeal for solidarity to all workers of the international automobile industry

More than 3000 of your co-workers are on strike for their right to organise and form a union in the Maruti Suzuki car plant at Manesar in India

Workers have to fight unitedly against heightened attacks on labour rights all over the world in the name of recession and austerity measures

Dear friends,

You might be aware of the struggle going on in Maruti Suzuki plant in India. 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.
(Please go here for more news about the strike: http://workersresist.net).

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.

We appeal to all the workers of the international automobile industry to show solidarity with their co-workers who are fighting against all odds and pressurise the Suzuki Motor Corporation and the Maruti Suzuki India to stop its repressive tactics and accept the just demands of the workers. Workers all over the world are facing heightened attacks on labour rights in the name of recession and austerity measures. Workers have to fight unitedly against the might of the corporates to safeguard our rights and jobs. We must find ways to organise all workers of transnational corporations like Suzuki as well as all workers of an industry like the automobile industry. The corporations are colluding to crush workers all over. It is high time that the workers across countries start joining hands to resist.
--   Citizens Front in Support of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Movement

Sandeep , sandeep.samwad@gmail.com
Satyam satyamvarma@gmail.com

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