Working Class
Solidarity with Maruti Workers

Exactly one year ago, the management and its hired goons led a brutal attack on the workers inside the factory premises of Maruti Suzuki when talks were going on between workers and Management. In this situation a HR manager died in mysterious circumstances, but it appears that the management was waiting for this sort of unfortunate incident to get a chance to crackdown on the workers to take a revenge on them for getting successful in forming and getting their union registered against wishes of Maruti Management. All hell broke out. The law of land was thrown into the dustbin, with massive armed police entering into factory premises, lock out, summary dismissal of 2346 workers (546 permanent and 1800 contract) with police party raiding the residential premises and villages of the workers. Hooda government behaving as a faithful lackey of the Japanese owner declared war on the Maruti workers and their Union. The whole Manesar-Gurgaon belt was converted into war zone with massive armed forces patrolling the area. Even after one year, all the workers remain dismissed and 147 workers are in Gurgaon jail in various cases including charges of murder. Their Bail pleas have been rejected even by the high court.

In continuation of their struggle, the Maruti Union took up a series of programmes since 1st July which was to culminate in an indefinite sit-in and hunger strike at Manesar from 18th July, the day when last year 147 workers were thrown into the jails and 2300 workers were terminated under the pretext of an incident of violence in Maruti, Manesar Plant. AICCTU has taken up a series of initiatives in countrywide solidarity with the Maruti workers, including demonstrations at Maruti showrooms in several places across the country on 18th July.

At a demonstration cum rally organized by the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union in Faridabad, Haryana on 7th July 2013, the first installment of a solidarity fund of Rs. 50,000/- was handed over to the leaders of the Union by three worker leaders of AICCTU from auto companies of Tamil Nadu – Coms. John Sundaram, President Pricol Workers’ Union, K. Palanivel (CWC member of AICCTU) from Diamond Chains, and Gokul Krishnan from MRF, who came all the way to Delhi to donate this fund to Maruti workers.

In this series of programmes by the Maruti Union, on 7th July 2013 in Faridabad, Haryana, the union organized a rally and demonstration before the residence of Labour Minister of Haryana. The mass meeting held at Pyali Chowk before rally was addressed by, among others, the national secretary of AICCTU, Rajiv Dimri. He said that the last year’s 18th July incident and subsequent repression unleashed on Maruti workers is yet another proof to the fact that the democracy in India, known as the largest democracy in the world, is a democracy only for the big corporates and MNCs such as this Japanese company owning Maruti, but at the same time an autocracy, a regime of repression and oppression for working class, the down-trodden and the toiling people of the country. At the end of his address, he introduced the comrades of Tamil Nadu to the Maruti workers after which the solidarity fund was handed over to them with short speeches by them. In the mass meeting and rally, ten banners containing signatures of thousands of workers of auto companies, lawyers, and intellectuals from Tamil Nadu in support of the struggle of Maruti workers were displayed and handed over to them.

The rally was participated by leaders and activists of AISA, RYA, All India Kisan Mahasabha and Jan Sanskriti Manch including Sandeep Singh, Aslam Khan, Prem Singh Gehlawat and Kapil Sharma.

At the end of rally, a big section of demonstrating workers forced their way into the house of Labour Minister of Haryana led by a delegation comprising of leaders of Maruti union- Katar Singh, Mahavir, Rajpal and others; Prem Singh Gehlawat, vice president of Kisan Mahasabha and AICCTU leaders Santosh Roy, Ranjan Ganguly and Rajiv Dimri. The delegation then submitted a memorandum demanding the Minister’s urgent intervention for release of all workers and other people lodged in Kaithal jail on 18-19 May, release of 147 workers lodged in Gurgaon Jail for last one year, reinstatement of all terminated workers and an impartial inquiry into the 18th July 2012 incident.

The next day i.e. on 8th July the leaders of Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union visited the central office of AICCTU and met the President and General Secretary Coms. S. Kumarasamy and Swapan Mukherjee to thank them for the support and to discuss further course of action.

On 11th July, an impressive demonstration was held by AICCTU at the Rally Ground, Chandigarh. Workers associated with various unions affiliated with AICCTU participated from Mansa, Sangrur, Bathinda, Gurdaspur and Chandigarh. Workers of Maruti also participated in large numbers. More than 400 workers from PGI Contract Workers Union, PEC Contract Workers Union, Krantikari Kamkaji Mahila Sangathan, Ordinance Cable Factory Employees Union, Chandigarh Club Employees Union, Punjab Kisan Union, AIPWA participated in the protest. A delegation including Mahaveer Dhiman, Rajpal from Maruti Union and Gurmeet (AICCTU), Sukhdev and Sanjeev went to give demands letter. Demand letter was received by Mr. Kapoor, OSD to CM Haryana, who though assured of arranging a meeting with CM Haryana but was speaking the same language of Maruti Management. Addressing the gathering Com. Kanwaljit said that the victory of Maruti workers will be victory of Indian working class and defeat to neo-liberal policies. A fund of Rs. 50,000/- was handed over to Maruti workers Union as support from AICCTU. Among others Com. Gurmeet Singh Bakhtpura(AICCTU), Com. Satish(AICCTU), Com. Sanjeev(PGI Union), Com. Sukhdev(PGI Union), Com. Isha(KKMS), Com Gurnam Bhikhi(PKU), Com. Jasbir Kaur Natt(AIPWA) and leaders of Chandigarh Club addressed the rally. Adv Harish from Punjab & Haryana High Court also participated in the rally.

A Convention in support of Maruti workers was organized by AICCTU at Coimbatore on 16th July, marking a year since their incarceration in jail and continuing struggle. N Krishnamurthy, District President of AICCTU, presided over the Convention. NK Natarajan inaugurated the convention. Other speakers included Comrade V R Balasundaram, District President of INTUC, Comrade Arumugam, District General Secretary of CITU, Comrade Sivasamy, District Secretary, Mill Workers’ Union affiliated to AITUC, Comrade Subramanian, District President of HMS, Comrade Thiruvengadam, District President of LPF, Comrade Sundaram, President and Comrade Chandran, Treasurer of LMW workers and staff union. Comrade Kumarasamy, National President of AICCTU concluded the convention with his address. Hundreds of workers belonging to various industries attended.

The following resolutions were adopted at the convention signed by all participatory unions.

1) The Convention prevails upon the Haryana Government to take immediate action to get bail for the jailed workers.

2) Government should cancel the unfair labour practice of contract system of employment in Maruti.

3) The Convention unanimously declared its solidarity for the fighting workers of Maruthi.

All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) held Country-wide protest demonstrations by Picketing in front of showrooms/offices of Maruti Suzuki and organizing rallies in several major cities on 18 July 2013- the day which marks the completion of one year of the determined resistance of workers Maruti Suzuki, Manesar against all out repression and blatant attack on their rights by nexus of Haryana’s Hooda government and Maruti management.

On 18th July, several workers of AICCTU and students and youth of AISA and RYA from Delhi and NCR participated in the call of “Manesar Chalo” (Go to Manesar) given by Maruti worker. On this day again the Haryana government and administration exhibited their loyalty to the Maruti administration by imposing section-144 in Manesar region and several parts of Gurgaon. In this situation a mass meeting and demonstration was held near IFFCO Chowk, Gurgaon in which large number of people from civil society also participated. A memorandum was submitted to DC of Gurgaon from this demonstration.

Notably, at the initiative of AICCTU, in Chennai, a massive all-TU joint demonstration was held in which members of AICCTU, CITU, AITUC, HMS, LPF, INTUC, AIUTUC and WPTUC took part. Also, in Mumbai, workers from various trade unions and mass organizations including AICCTU, Sarva Shramik Sangathan, AISA and unions of Blue Star, Reliance Energy, Godrej, Jagruk Kamgar Manch, Kamgar Aghadi, Kachara Vahatuk Sangathan held a rally and convention.

On 18 July, Bangalore City Committee of AICCTU organized an impressive demonstration in the city centre in solidarity with struggling Maruti workers as a part of the all-India call. The demo was addressed by AICCTU leader Comrade Shankar said that the case of Maruti is the worst example of central and state governments openly siding with MNCs and corporate capital against the working class in the era of globalization and liberalization. Com. Appanna, state secretary, district leaders Krishna Golla, Ashok Gowda and Raghavendra also addressed the demonstrators. Com. Puttegowda, district secretary led the demonstration.

On the same day, another demonstration was organized at Ganagavati in front of Maruti Show Room. Com. Bharadwaj, state president hailed Maruti struggle as a symbol of unity of entire working class defying artificial divisions of contract and permanent. Com. Basavangowda, NCM, Virupakshappa, taluk president and Raghavendra of RYA addressed the demonstrators among others.

Protest demonstrations and rallies were held under the banner of AICCTU in 12 districts of Tamilnadu including Sriperumputhur, Coimbatore, Salem, Namakkal, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Tirunelveli and Ordnance factory in Tiruchi; Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro and Ramgarh in Jharkhand; Bhagalpur in Bihar; Puduchery; Kanpur in UP, Bhilai in Chattisgarh.

Memoranda were sent to CM and Governor of Haryana, Union Labour Minister and Chief Labour Commissioners (Central) from various states.

The demands raised in these country-wide demonstrations were:

Immediately reinstate all terminated workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar Plant, Suzuki, Powertrain India and Suzuki Motorcycles; unconditional release of the 147 workers lodged in Gurgaon Jail for the past one year and 10 workers and other people lodged in Kaithal jail since 18th May 2013 and withdrawal of all fabricated charges against them; a high level Judicial probe into the violation of labour laws by Maruti and other employers in Gurgaon Manesar belt; an independent, high level Judicial enquiry into the incident of 18 July 2012; Prohibition of the employment of bouncers by employers and regularization of contract labour and other non-regular workers who are engaged in works of a perennial nature and equal pay for equal work.

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