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GurgaonWorkersNews no.56 – March/April 2013

by GurgaonWorkersNews, 16 March 2013

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India+Strike7NOIDA Industrial Zone, February 2013… For the global over-throw…

GurgaonWorkersNews – Newsletter 56 – March/April 2013

Gurgaon in Haryana is presented as the shining India, a symbol of capitalist success promising a better life for everyone behind the gateway of development. At a first glance the office towers and shopping malls reflect this chimera and even the facades of the garment factories look like three star hotels. Behind the facade, behind the factory walls and in the side streets of the industrial areas thousands of workers keep the rat-race going, producing cars and scooters for the middle-classes which end up in the traffic jam on the new highway between Delhi and Gurgaon. Thousands of young proletarianised middle class people lose time, energy and academic aspirations on night-shifts in call centres, selling loan schemes to working-class people in the US or pre-paid electricity schemes to the poor in the UK. Next door, thousands of rural-migrant workers up-rooted by the rural crisis stitch and sew for export, competing with their angry brothers and sisters in Bangladesh or Vietnam. And the rat-race will not stop; on the outskirts of Gurgaon, new industrial zones turn soil into over-capacities. The following newsletter documents some of the developments in and around this miserable boom region. If you want to know more about working and struggling in Gurgaon, if you want more info about or even contribute to this project, please do so via:

http://www.gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.comgurgaon_workers_news@yahoo.co.uk

In the March/April 2013 issue you can find:

1) Proletarian Experiences -Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective

*** Under the Surface – Short workers’ reports from 17 different automobile and textile factories in Gurgaon, Manesar, Okhla and Faridabad

*** Framed – Story of a security guard and his experience with management and police

2) Collective Action -Reports on proletarian struggles in the area

*** From the 4th of June 2011 to the 18th of July 2012 and beyond – On the cycle of struggle at Maruti Suzuki Manesar -Political summary and critique of current attempts of organising resistance, distributed in fariadbad majdoor Samachar February 2013 issue. Plus short look at current wage agreements and crisis in the automobile industry in India.

*** Summary of struggle at Eastern Medikit in GurgaonDifficult experiences of hundreds of permanent workers employed by an medical equipment manufacturer, who has abandoned the factory.

*** Report on struggle at Senior Flextronics automobile supplier in ManesarSenior Flexonics is a multi-national automobile supplier. Workers in the Manesar plant have been trapped between lock-out and symbolic actions.

*** Text on strike of hospital nurses in FaridabadIn 2012 around 330 nurses employed at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences and 130 nurses at QRG Central Hospital in Faridabad went on strike for higher wages and workplace related improvements.

*** Report on blind workers strike in FaridabadIn two small industrial areas in Delhi and Faridabad around 250 and 200 blind workers of the National Blind Peoples’ Union (NFB) work in factories. They don’t receive the minimum wage – so they went on strike.

3) Theory and Practice -Contributions for the Movement

*** ON THE QUESTION OF WORKERSÕ ORGANIZATION, by Mouvement CommunisteRecent article for debate, written for a meeting in Nagpur, India.

*** Leaflet for general strike in February 2013, by Parivartan ki DishaThe leaflet is followed by funny quotes from the middle-waged class on the general strike and their experiences in Gurgaon. A workers’ perspective will follow…

*** Towards a workers’ organisation, by GurgaonWorkersNewsFrench translation of the first part, published in GurgaonWorkersNews no.50

*** Delhi’s Calling: Take Part in Faridabad Mazdoor Talmel -To abolish the global work/war house will take more than informative exercise! If you live in Delhi area, please be welcomed to take part in Faridabad Mazdoor Talmel – a workers’ coordination. We distribute Faridabad Mazdoor Samachar on ten days each month in various industrial areas around Delhi. You can also participate in the workers’ meeting places which have been opened in various workers’ areas. If you are interested, please get in touch. For more background on Faridabad Mazdoor Talmel see:

http://faridabadmajdoorsamachar.blogspot.com/p/fms-talmel.html

——————

1) Proletarian Experiences -Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective

*** Under the Surface – Short workers’ reports from 17 different automobile and textile factories in Gurgaon, Manesar, Okhla and Faridabad

Faridabad Majdoor Samachar / no.289 / July 2012

Escorts Worker(Faridabad Plant)The permanent workers in the Faridabad Escorts plant are in a difficult situation. Since about three months management has repeatedly put up notices saying that the plant will be closed for some days due to lack of work, while at the same time individual workers who are called by management to attend work will have to come, otherwise they will be marked as absent. Apart from a department in the spare parts division these notices had been put up everywhere. And, apart from a few workers, all permanent workers were actually called to come to work during the days of plant closure, while all casual workers and workers hired through contractor were absent. At Escorts more than half of the work-force is casual or hired through contractor. During the days of ‘production stop’ production actually ran as normal. Behind all this seems to be an attempt of Mahindra management to wrestle control of the Escorts management from the group around Nanda. With the help of the top-management of the Reliance Group Nanda has managed to get the chairman position at Escorts. We have asked other workers in tractor manufacturing companies – at Eicher, for example, production levels are above average, so why these ‘closure days’?

Jayshri Polymer Worker(Plot 176 – 77, Sector 3, IMT Manesar)There is not even one permanent worker employed in the factory. Around 40 casual workers and 450 workers hired through four different contractors manufacture rubber parts for Yamaha, Honda and Maruti Suzuki on two 12-hours shifts. We work seven days a work, on Sundays we work from 7 am till 3:30 pm. Overtime is paid at single rate, although legally it should be double. ESI and PF contributions are cut from the wages, but if you quit the job within the first six months you won’t get your PF money, even if you quit after six months it is a big hassle to get the money. They don’t pay the annual bonus. Management has put up letter boxes all over the factory, they ask the workers a lot, but they do nothing. There is no canteen in the factory. All workers put a note into the letter box asking for a canteen – now management gives 2 Rs worth of biscuits with the tea during the nightshift. It is very hot at the workplaces and it stinks of chemicals.

Pyoginam Worker(Plot 666, Udyog Vihar Phase 5, Gurgaon)there is not a single permanent or casual worker in the plant, all 400 workers are hired through two different contractors.Normal working-times are from 8:30 am till 8:30 pm, but they make you stay and work till midnight. They pay single rate for overtime. The main job of the bosses is to swear at the workers, they also misbehave with the female workers. They cut money for ESI and PF, but not a single worker ever received PF money when leaving the job.

SMS Export Worker(D-28, Okhla Phase 1, Delhi)There are 50 permanent workers and 450 workers hired through contractor. No ESI, no PF. The helpers get 200 Rs for an eight hours shift, the tailors get between 225 and 260 Rs.

Super Age Worker(Plot 109, Sector 6, Faridabad)Management did not pay our May wages in tyime. When wages were not paid by 10th of June we decided to work only eight hours instead of twelve. Now it’s the 27th of JUne and the boss says that he will pay, but we should first start to work overtime again. We manufacture parts for Yamaha.

AA Autotech Worker(Plot 190, Sector 5, IMT Manesar)There are 200 permanent workers, employed as operators, in the tool room and in maintenance. There are 900 workers hired through contractor employed on two 12 hours shifts. The guys who start night-shift at 7 pm on Saturday have to work till 3 pm on Sunday. There is no weekly day off. In two, three months there is three or four days break down. If the workers hired through contractors leave the job within the first six months, they don’t get PF money. There is a canteen, but the roti is machine-made and hard as stone. We manufacture alloy parts for Honda, Hero, Suzuki and Yamaha. It is die casting work, it’s very hot on the shop floor.

Lenko Worker(Plot 397. Udyog Vihar Phase 3, Gurgaon)Around 80 of us are hired through Sodeksho Facility, based in NOIDA, working in the factory in Gurgaon. In March they suddenly sacked 25 of us – they said that Lenko was reducing staff numbers. They assured us that we will get our outstanding wages and one month extra-wage within the following 15 days. It’s mid-June now and they still haven’t paid us. They said that they are in negotiations.

Bright Brothers Worker(Plot 16, Sector 24, Faridabad)There are 100 permanent workers employed on three 8-hours shifts and 600 workers hired through two different contractors on two 12-hours shifts. The contractors embezzle 100 to 500 Rs every months from new workers wages. The workers of the contractor who has recently made a runner don’t receive PF money. We manufacture platic parts for Whirlpool and other companies.

Metak System Worker(Plot 517, Sector 8, IMT Manesar)When management hired operators in August 2011 for 6,500 Rs a month they said that they would increase the wage by Diwali. When Diwali came they said that they will increase it by April. In April again nothing. When they said on 16th of May that they will not increase the wage, I quit the job. On 9th of June I went to the factory in order to get my outstanding May wages. The boss had told the guard not to let me in and asked me why I had quit the job. He said that he won’t pay my final dues. Workers in the plant work from 9 am till 7:30 pm, manufacturing filters for refinery oil.

Adhunik Overseas Worker(Plot 17, Sector 6, Faridabad)In the factory 300 workers on two 12-hours shift die cloths. No permanents, no workers hired through contractors, we are all casuals. No PF, no ESI and for 12 hours shifts, 26 days a month the helpers are paid 6,000 Rs and the operators 7,500 Rs. Wages are paid in installments, sometimes 500 Rs, sometimes 1,000 Rs. March, April and May wages have not been paid yet, now it is middle of June. Most workers have outstanding wages of 15 to 20,000 Rs. The drinking water in the factory is bad. We have to get water from a neighbouring factory.

JNS Worker(Plot 4, Sector 3, IMT Manesar)The roti in the canteen are like plastic, you can’t chew them, they won’t fill your stomach. And the company deducts 234 Rs canteen money per month from our wages.

India Forge Worker(Plot 28, Sector 6, Faridabad)There are 20 to 25 permanent workers employed and 400 workers hired through 25 to 30 different contractors. We manufacture axles and other parts for Maruti Suzuki. The workers hired through contractor get neither PF, nor ESI, no bonus and their wages are between 4,000 and 5,000 Rs. Wages are paid delayed. On 23rd of June Maruti Suzuki was closed for maintenance and the same happens here at India Forge. I myself, in order to avoid the landlord hassling me for rent, leave the room early in the morning, despite the temporary company closure and days off work.

Orient Craft Worker(Plot 15, Sector 5, IMT Manesar)At the beginning of June there is little work at the garments export company Orient Craft. Sometimes they send workers of this line home, sometimes from a different line. There are less workers in total, may be around 1,000. They started to cut more money for the Haryana Welfare program, now 15 Rs instead of 5 Rs. And the company still hasn’t given us the promised bicycles.

Yunimex Laboratories Worker(Plot 7, Sector 24, Faridabad)The wages of the 35 workers hired through contractor are between 4,000 and 4,500 Rs. No ESI or PF. They use some filtering system in the factory, but the clean water is for production of medicine, not for the workers. Workers have to drink the stale water. From the chemicals, workers fall ill.

Tricolight Worker(Plot 5, Sector 6, IMT Manesar)Workers in the manufacturng department work two 12 hours shifts. None of the workers is permanent all 200 are casual workers. They manufacture electrical boards. The fixed revenue target increases every year, They fixed 80 crore for the first three months of 2012. In these three months you cannot take a single day off, they don’t issue gate passes and you have to work each Sunday. There used to be a canteen, but they closed it two years ago. They used to give you a new uniform every year, now every two years. There used to be bottled drinking water, they stopped providing this two years ago.

Security GuardThe company SIS Security has a contract with Amul Diary to employ 26 guards on their premises in Manesar. We work from 6 am till 3 am. We also help loading trucks with milk. On the bases of 9 hours day, 30 days month you earn 4,500 Rs. Wages are delayed. many guards leave the job quickly. You have major difficulties to get your outstanding wages. I left the job on 10th of September and haven’t received my last wage, despite asking frequently – now it’s end of December. They tell you: come in three months, the contract with Amul has ended, we have not received their cheque yet etc..

P and G Worker(Plot 9, Sector 6, IMT Manesar)We are 400 workers, manufacturing leather jackets. We work from 10 am till 1 am, on Saturdays you work 18 hours shifts. If they make you stay after 10 pm they give you 50 Rs extra for food. The official wage for the helpers is 4,650 Rs, but the company pays 4,000 Rs. Only 10 or 15 workers have ESI cards. Workers who leave the job don’t get PF.

*** Framed – Story of a security guard and his experience with management and police

A Security WorkerHISS, based behind the Satya Cinema in Sector 7, Faridabad, supplies security guards and workers to other companies. At the Auto Lek [?] factory on Mathura Road, District Palwal, the HISS guards work on two 12 hours shifts, 30 days per month. The factory spreads out on 8 to 10 acres. During night-shifts from 8 pm till 8 am there are two gun men, four security guards and one supervisor employed for security. The factory workers work on one shift from 8:30 am till 8:30 pm. At 8:50 pm an official of Auto Lek seals the factory. At 7:30 am the Auto Lek security officer checks the seal and if everything is okay, he signs the register and opens the seal. In the factory there are also about 70 cameras. On 9th of February the seal was checked and opened, in the evening the guards were paid their January wages. Then a manager of Auto Lek said that there has been theft in the factory and that a director of HISS would come to the plant. Everything had been fine with the seal, no windows were broken, no wall dmaged and they had 70 cameras… nevertheless a gunman and two security guards were taken to the Gadpuri police station. When they were sent of the HISS director took their mobile phones and their January wage. They were kept in the station all night and then transfered to Palwal police. There they were beaten. “We don’t know – ask the supervisor”. They were kept in police custody. They sold jewelry of their wifes and asked for money from their village… then they were released. They went to the office of HISS to get phones and wages. These were not given back. Instead they were abused and they were told that they had taken part in stealing five lakh worth of copper.

2) Collective Action -Reports on proletarian struggles in the area

*** From the 4th of June 2011 to the 18th of July 2012 and beyond – On the cycle of struggle at Maruti Suzuki Manesar -

*** Intro

After the shock and awe of wildcat workers action, management of automobile companies in India now face a new challenge: how can they tie the minority of permanent workers back in by offering them wage increases which widens the pay-gap between them and the majority of casual and temporary workers, when at the same time the pressure of crisis and over-capacities forces them to squeeze down on labour costs? Just some indications and news snippets below, followed by a recent article of Faridabad Majdoor Samachar distributed amongst workers in various industrial zones in Manesar, Gurgaon, Okhla and Faridabad. It is a political summary of the cycle of struggle at Maruti Suzuki manesar and a critique of the current attempts to organise resistance of the sacked and jailed Maruti workers.

*** Wage (Gap) Increase – October 2012

“Another sector analyst, also on condition of anonymity, said it was in the interest of the auto companies to heed the demands of workers.Even during last year’s unrest at the Manesar plant, we were telling the company to increase the wages to solve the problem as the impact of such an increase was nominal on margins,” the analyst said. “But look what has happened. The company suffered a revenue loss of Rs.4,000 crore while increasing wages would have increased the wage bill by only Rs.150 crore in three years time.” For most car companies, the wage bill is in the range of 2-3 per cent of their sales. Following Maruti√ïs move, auto industry workers are optimistic of a bigger raise than they would have otherwise expected. “We are all eagerly waiting for the wage hike. We hope we get a good hike of Rs.24,000,” says Guru Ragavendran, a line relief worker at Hyundai who takes home a salary of Rs.33,500 a month. Ford has 1,500 permanent workers in India and 3,200 trainees who will be confirmed in their jobs after three years depending on their performance. Permanent employees received a hike of 15 per cent in April, adding Rs.3,700 to an average monthly salary of Rs.33,000 for permanent workers. According to estimates available with industry experts, the wage bill of Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest car maker, is expected to increase by Rs 65-70 crore after the increments.“Employee costs as a proportion of net sales may go up to 2.7 per cent from the current 2.4 per cent,” said Yaresh Kothari, auto analyst at brokerage firm Angel Broking. In a pact inked with the Gurgaon-based Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union (MUKU), Maruti Suzuki increased gross salary by Rs 14,800 per month spread over a period of three years for permanent workers in the company. While 75 per cent of the gross salary increment will be given in the first year, the company will give 12.5 per cent each in the second and third years. Workers at India’s top two-wheeler companies Hero MotoCorp. and Honda Motorcycle and Scooters India have submitted demand notices to their management teams for increased salaries and a housing scheme, among other benefits.

http://www.livemint.com/Companies/vq2qxRvLnHo7l879vJ5KmN/Workers-at-auto-firms-raise-demands-after-Maruti-wage-settle.html

Wage Struggle at Hero Motorcycle Plant Gurgaon – January 2013

Over one thousand workers at Hero MotoCorp√ïs (HMCL) Gurgaon and Dharuhera plants√ëboth in the northern Indian state of Haryana√ëcarried out a ‘go-slow’ campaign on January 23 to demand higher wages. Workers at the Gurgaon plant have been demanding a monthly wage increase of 15,000 rupees (US$273) over the next three years. Management has only offered a 7,500 rupees (US$136) increase. The same offer was given to workers at the Dharuhera plant last December. Gurgaon workers have pressed for a larger wage hike, citing the relatively higher cost of living in the area and their demand has been supported by the Dharuhera workers. “We will ask the Deputy Labour Commissioner to kindly resolve the matter. We are not for a fight. We want to resolve the issue amicably,” Lal told the WSWS. On this basis, the HMCWU has organized various impotent protests, including calling on workers to wear black badges and refuse tea and snacks offered by the company. The intransigence of Hero management reflects growing concern over the impact of the world economic crisis on the global auto industry and Indian exports in particular. (WSWS, 28th of January 2013) Representatives of employees at the Gurgaon facility said workers would stop cooperating with engineers and supervisors from tomorrow. “The management was concerned that if they hiked our wages significantly more than the Rs 6,500 hike given to our colleagues at Dharuhera, there would be protests. But the workers there understand that living conditions are more expensive in Gurgaon. They are supporting us unconditionally,” added the union leader, who did not want to be named. Hero workers have been asking for a similar increment as at Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India” (HMSI) Manesar unit, Haryana, where a 50 per cent hike of Rs 14,770 in monthly salary was announced recently. Hero MotoCorp employs 1,200 permanent workers and 4,000 contract workers at its Gurgaon facility.

Wages of temporary workers at Hero, Honda HMSI and Maruti Suzuki are at about 8,000 Rs per month – the pay gap between them and the permanent workers will have further increased after this round of wage agreements.

Struggle at Bosch automobile supplier – March 2013

Auto component maker Bosch Ltd today said workers at its Bangalore plant have gone on a tool down strike from yesterday without prior notice.“Workmen of the company’s Bangalore plant have resorted to an illegal ‘Tool Down’ strike w.e.f. end of first shift of March 7, 2013, without giving any prior notice to the management,” the company said in a filing to the BSE. The company’s Bangalore plant has a history of workers unrest and in September 2011, the plant was shut down temporarily following strike by workers. The strike at Bosch comes on the same day when auto major Mahindra & Mahindra announced that the 3-day tool down strike by workers at its Nashik plant has been called off. At Bosch, an agreement was reached on the working model for the new production line and the suspension of one employee has been withdrawn. The workmen have resumed work at the factory premises starting from the night shift of March 9.

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-03-08/news/37561825_1_bangalore-plant-nashik-plant-bosch-ltd-today

*** Crisis – March 2013

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) had, in January, revised car sales projection for the fourth time in the current fiscal, forecasting a meagre 0-1 per cent growth, the weakest recorded growth in nearly a decade. This has an impact on the shop-floor.Previously Maruti HR-boss Siddique said, “[the] MSIL plant is coming up at a cost of Rs 4,000 ($727 million) in Gujarat and is expected to take off in 2015-16″. He admitted that “[although] the growth rate was projected at 14 per cent for the auto-industry, it has [now] slowed down to 4 to 5 per cent in the current fiscal period. Thus, he added that “it [has] created a bit of confusion about our Gujarat plans.” The annual production capacity of the plant will be around 1.5 million units which along with current installed capacity at Manesar and Gurgaon will take the total annual capacity over 3.2 million vehicles.In early march 2013, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, announced to undertake a one day-production cut at its Gurgaon plant on Saturday to reduce its stock piles amid flagging domestic sales and a tepid demand outlook. Auto demand in the country has slumped due to rising fuel prices and higher interest rates on loans to purchase vehicles. Earlier, in November, Tata Motors had announced a three-day closure of its Jamshedpur plant from November 29 “as part of an aggressive effort to align production with demand”. Maruti Suzuki had reported a 7.89 per cent decline in its total sales at 1,09,567 units in February 2013, with domestic sales down over 9 per cent at 97,955 units.(ENS Economic Bureau : New Delhi, Sat Mar 09 2013, 01:05 hrs)

*** Faridabad Majdoor Samachar – no.296 – February 2013

From the 4th of June 2011 to the 18th of July 2012 and beyond (1) -The practice of Maruti Suzuki Manesar workers

‘What to do and what not to do?’ ‘How to do and how not to do?’, these are important questions. All workers are confronted with these questions at all times. Today and in the near future, the practice of the Maruti Suzuki workers can make an important contribution to find an answer to these questions. Situations like at Maruti Suzuki Manesar will intensify and become more widespread. The position of workers seem to become increasingly favorable, while the condition of the companies and state, despite all of their major efforts, seem to become more and more brittle.

The 950 permanent workers who were union members at Maruti Suzuki Manesar plant were dissatisfied with the union. Company management deducted the union dues from workers’ wages. Some permanent workers secretly prepared for setting up an alternative union. In order to register the new union workers sent documents to the Haryana government’s labour commissioner in Chandigarh. The labour department immediately informed the company about it. Management started to put pressure on workers to accept the existing union and to refrain from setting up a new one.

On the 4th of June 2011 during the time of shift change, both A-shift workers and B-shift workers remained inside the factory when the turmoil started. All workers gathered in one place. Commotion. Workers refused to listen to the factory manager. two-shifts of permanent workers, trainees, apprentices and workers hired through three different contractors who are directly linked to the production process undermine the ‘occupation of the factory through management’. Workers control exits and entrances, advancing towards the control of the whole factory. A company which has an annual production output of 40,000 crore Rupee hasn’t got a clue how to deal with the situation. The central government, which takes over 4 crore Rupee excise duty from Maruti does not know either. The Haryana government, which takes 800 crore annual tax from Maruti is as clueless as management and the central state. This situation lasted for thirteen days. Workers’ representatives/supporters, who see workers as ‘to be pitied’ and ‘un-knowing’ come to an agreement with management and get production going again.

In India today, there are very few workers who you call permanent, the majority are temporary workers. Under these conditions today, only permanent and temporary workers together can form a workers union/organisation. On the 4th of June 2011 at Maruti Suzuki Manesar factory permanent workers, trainees, apprentices, workers hired through contractors together brought a workers union/organisation top the fore. That was not a ‘union’ as it is officially known. Nowadays companies-governments are not able to finish off an actual and practical workers union/organisation.

Workers have (been) stopped. Those permanent and temporary workers directly connected to production, those who work separated in different departments, at different machines and assembly lines, those workers have joint together on the 4th of June 2011. But those workers who take care of water, electricity, canteen, security and other services, those workers hired through 48 contractors have remained at the margins. The 350 drivers hired through contractors employed in sales and dispatch have remained at the margins. The 300 workers employed by suppliers, who work on the Maruti premises remained separate. The drivers who bring parts from the suppliers were not involved. Those 2,500 construction workers, who are working on the expansion of the factory, were not involved. The workers employed in Maruti supplying factories of Belsonica, FMI Energy, Krishna Maruti, SKH Metal and JBM, which are situated on the 600 acre Maruti premises remained at the margins. All these workers could immediately link up with an emerging workers union/organisation. The workers of the thousands of automobile, textile, pharmaceutical, IT factories, which surround Maruti Suzuki in IMT Manesar could join in without major difficulties. It would not be too hard for workers in Gurgaon, Okhla, Noida, Faridabad who work in factories of the 300 official Maruti suppliers and in thousands of inofficial work-shop suppliers to become part of it. And Maruti is not only connected to Japan, cars are exported to 120 different countries… The global dimension and international character of an emerging workers union/organisation is in front of us.

While companies support-foster ‘workers trade unions’, they cannot bear actual workers unions/organisations. The workers union/organisation which emerged at Maruti Suzuki Manesar on 4th of June 2011 did not grow and expand and the company stuck to the plan of finishing it off. On the other side those permanent and temporary workers directly linked to production proceeded on their path to deepen their bond. At the end of August 2011 company and state were prepared to attack them. Permanent and temporary workers together kept up their organised bond and sat outside of the factory for 24 hours over a month. All kind of people and groupings came to meet the workers. Workers listened to everyone, but did what they thought is right. Seeing that it won’t get through the company changed course. Workers representatives/supporters who think that workers have no consciousness and don’t understand again forged an agreement on the 30th of September 2011. On 3rd of October 2011 the company let all permanent workers, trainees and apprentices apart from 44 suspended workers back to work, but refused entry to 1,200 to 1,500 workers hired through contractors who had been directly employed in production. The company proceeded quickly on the path of breaking the workers’ union/organisation when… when on 7th of October 2011 both A-shift and B-shift workers remained inside the factory and shook the ‘occupation of the factory through management’. Workers controlled the exists and entrances and either expelled those workers who had been hired by the company during the lock-out or convince them to join them. This time workers of 11 other factories in IMT Manesar also remained inside their factories and questioned management’s control. The whole issue was on the way to become bigger and to spread. Those workers’ representatives/supporters who see workers as poor and unknowing reduced the emerging organisation to the four factories of the Suzuki group. On the 14th and 15th of October 2011 workers – facing a huge police army and influence of prominent workers’ leaders – were forced to leave the factories. Workers sat outside and production in the four factories remained suspended. Company and government did not understand what it was what workers wanted. Then on 19th and 21st of October 2011 an agreement was settled and all workers hired through contractors were taken back, while 30 workers were secretly given money and made to resign.

Workers were angry about the fact that 30 workers had resigned for money, but they were not disheartened. The notion that ‘we will make decisions ourselves’ was strong. The company slowly-cautiously started to undertake steps. The company themselves gave what is called concessions. The work-pace was slowed down, instead of one car every 45 seconds speed was reduced to one car per minute. Wages for trainees, apprentices and workers hired through contractors were increased. Permanent workers were promised a significant wage increment. The number of company buses was increased. The parents were included into the health insurance scheme. They increased the number of annual holidays… A second union was registered and management recognised it. The union gave management a demand notice. Negotiations started between management and union about a three-years agreement…

When in February-March 2012 workers started to feel that after having done so much, nothing had really changed. ‘To take care of workers’ was seen as management talk. Workers remained workers – so what had changed? This is why the suspension of a worker on 18th of July 2012 was not to remain an ordinary act. Workers rebelled against being workers. There are two symbols standing for making-keeping a worker a worker: workers made managers and the factory building the target of their attack. The large numbers of security guards and 60 to 70 police men just stood aside and watched. No guard (or bouncer/muscle-man) got injured. If the new union leader would have tried to hold back workers, he had been the first to be beaten. This was not an act of a group of 20 or 50 workers, but over thousand of young and old, permanent and temporary workers were involved in the rebellion. It was a coincidence that it happened on the 18th of July, it could have happened on the 15th of may or 25th of August. It is true that the manager and the factory building are symbols, they stand for a social relation… but in practice the embodied/tangible form becomes a first target and consecutively the social relation comes to the fore. Workers can extinct a factory in an half an hour attack… the fear which it instills amongst the bosses is not limited to the Delhi region, but spreads to other places.

All workers know that company and state will attack in revenge. The government installed a permanent commando of 600 police in IMT Manesar, 147 workers are in jail and there is a arrest warrant for further 65 workers. The company has sacked 546 workers and kicked out 2,500 workers hired through contractor. After six months of jail, till now end of February 2013 none of the jailed workers has been granted bail. According the leading manager of Maruti Suzuki this is class war. A Maruti Suzuki Manesar worker: “If the 18th of July had been a thing of the whole of IMT Manesar, it would have been a real thing”.

For workers it is the first priority to increase their own power. Who is the workers’ own? The workers’ own is the other worker. Therefore the first act is to go to other workers and to form a bond with them. This is why for the Maruti Suzuki Manesar workers, after the 18th of July 2013, the thousands of surrounding factories became their potential terrain of activity. The impact of the events in IMT Manesar on the government was direct, but moreover the knowledge that the wave might spread to Gurgaon, Okhla, Noida, Faridabad. This is not supposed to happen, therefore… Workers’ representatives/supporters who see workers as victims (2) and as lacking consciousness adviced the Maruti Suzuki Manesar workers to start on a path of falsehood. thousands of leaflets were distributed amongst workers in Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad. Knowingly or not, these ‘do-gooders and well-meaners’ motivated workers to proceed on a path which will tire them out. Honest and dishonest workers’ supporters, both gave information notices to the deputy commissioner, to legislators, to the ministers, to the prime minister, they demonstrated in Gurgaon, they demonstrated in Delhi, demonstrations in Zind and Bhivani, protests by the family members of the jailed and sacked workers, hunger strikes, bicycle protest tours from all four corners of Haryana to Rohtak… these can be important additional steps, but to focus and rely on them will lead to nothing else but tiredness amongst the workers. The workers hired through contractors are also left on the margins of these protests. Without a doubt, the workers in jail and the sacked workers are still firm and committed. If the 400 or so sacked workers outside jail would now focus on going amongst the workers of IMT Manesar, then…

(1)

For detailed reports on the cycle of struggle at Maruti Suzuki Manesar:

http://gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com/gurgaonworkersnews-no-941/

http://gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com/gurgaonworkersnews-no-944/

http://gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com/gurgaonworkersnews-no-945/#fn3

http://gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com/gurgaonworkersnews-no-951/

http://www.mouvement-communiste.com/?lang=E

(2)

Some examples of turning a mass of unruly energetic young workers into tired victims:

“CITU has asked workers in Gurgaon and Manesar to organize a ‘lunch boycott’ at their respective units, in protest at the mass sackings conducted at Maruti’s Manesar plant after the July episode of violence and arson there. The union members have urged workers in all factories operating in this belt to give up on their afternoon and evening meals on October 19. A gate meeting for all workers has also been scheduled for October 17. “On October 19, we want the workers to work at their units, but they should refuse to have any food at the plant, as an expression of protest against such management practices,” said a CITU representative.”

From a press release by the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, 12th of November 2012:“We spoke to the minister, Surjewala, who listended to our demands, and gave assurance to resolve the issue at the earliest and speak to the Labour minister, Shiv Charan Lal and the Chief Minister after diwali. Earlier, starting on 7th morning, the MSWU completed its two-day hunger strike and dharna on the evening of 8th November in Gurgaon with a spirited mass rally of over 3000 struggling workers joined by over 1000 workers from Eastern Medikit and other factories, and others who came in solidarity, forcing the government to take notice of our present condition. We broke our hunger strike in front of the DC Office and inside the jail at 4pm, and took out the mass rally from the Mini Secretariat to the Youth and Sports Minister, Sukhbir Kataria’s residence in the Bus stand-Railway station road in Gurgaon, who came down to the street to listen to our demands, and gave us assurance of resolving our demands by taking it up with the Chief Minister after diwali.”

PUDR: “The entry of corporations and multinationals in the absence of any semblance of protection for workers√ï rights makes the working class vulnerable to the violence and illegal actions of the state machinery and capital today that we need to collectively resist.”

*** Summary of struggle at Eastern Medikit in GurgaonDifficult experiences of hundreds of permanent workers employed by an medical equipment manufacturer, who has abandoned the factory.

Eastern Medikit Worker(Plot 195 and 205, Udyog Vihar Phase 1 / Plot 292, Phase 2 and Sector 37, Gurgaon)

On 18th of May management suddenly ‘disappeared’ and abandoned the factories in Gurgaon. The company has 25 to 30 crore debts with the Punjab National bank and the Union Bank of India. They owe 2.5 crore to the Provident Fund, they owe money to the raw material suppliers, they owe 60 lakh Rs to the Gurgaon Grameen Bank – money was cut from workers’ wages in order to pay back the loan, but the money has never been transferred to the bank. Outstanding payments for the electricity bill of 60 to 65 lakh Rs Outstanding wages for 1135 permanent workers according to the three-years collective agreement between management and union dated 2009. Since July 2011 money which has been cut from permanent workers’ wages for ESI and PF has not been paid into the funds – embezzled. The labour department gave us dates for hearings till 30th of May, then they stopped meeting us – they try to contact the managing director, but they don’t succeed. We gave a notification to the Deputy Commissioner in Gurgaon on 15th of June. No one listened – because there were no demands, no one got suspended or dismissed, there was no protest. Having heard all this, the destitute leaders of the Eastern Medikit Employees Union announced that the respective ailing factories can not be run.

In 1988 Eastern Medikit started on a small rented plot in Azadpur, Delhi. In 2007 there were 1,100 permanent and 3,000 casual workers employed in Eastern Medikit factories. Since 2000 there is a trade union: the permanent workers work 8-hours shifts, while the casual workers work 12 hours; production target for the permanent workers is 500 piece, while for the casual workers it is 800 to 1,100. permanent workers get their wage on the 7th, while casuals get it on the 22nd or 25th of the month; the wages for the same work differ significantly. Casual workers get even less than single rate for overtime – according to the union, if the company would pay double rate like prescribed by the law the company would not be able to survive in the competition and would have to be closed. Money for ESI and PF is cut from casual workers wages, but they neither get an ESI card, and only with a lot of struggle they get the fund money. When 3,000 casual workers in the Gurgaon Udyog Vihar factories engaged in a wildcat strike during night-shift on 18th of December 2007 in order to obtain their November wages, the management called the police. It has become a routine that management calls the police against the casual workers. In October 2011 the company started to kick out casual workers on a large scale. By December 1,700 were left, during December itself further 900 were sacked. And they started to delay the wage payments of the permanent workers. Since 16th of April the permanent workers had to work on two 12-hours shifts. When electricity was cut at the 292 plot plant in December 2011 due to unpaid bills, production continued with the help of generators. When in the other factories electricity was cut on 12th of May work continued with generators for five further days… on 18th of May management disappeared.

The chairman – managing director has opened a new company in nearby Dehradun, under the name of Global Medikit. They have four factories there, production has started in two of them. They have started to send components from here to Dehradun. Several times the permanent workers tried to stop the dismantling and relocation of machinery, but the union representatives, referring to the threat of suspensions, actually helped to get the machines transported away. So what is the use of a union? This is the question of Eastern Medikit permanent workers. Since more than a month now the 1,100 permanent workers guard the factories. What comes after the labour department and the visits to the DC? The union has proposed a protest sit-in in front of the company’s main office in Delhi. Workers went to Delhi, but referring to the law the police chased them away after two hours. On 5th of July the same sad story repeated itself in front of the residence of the deputy labour commissioner. So what is left to be done apart from the known ritualistic evasion in form of calling other unions and make their leaders give speeches?

It is clear that the company does not belong to anybody. It is also clear that the government will not be able to give workers hope. If we take into account the recent experiences of collective wildcat actions by Eastern Medikit casual workers and the fact that shortly before the Eastern Medikit dispute workers at Harsoria Healthcare, another medical equipmnet manufacturer, briefly occupied their factory in the same industrial area, we can state that the question of a new trajectory for the Eastern medikit workers is not a theoretical problem. Eastern Medikit workers face the necessity and have got the time to go to the hundreds of neighbouring factories in Udyog Vihar Gurgaon and to address the hundred thousands of workers. to raise the problem of workers in one factory as a problem of thousands of factories is the first step towards a new trajectory.

Short article on casual workers wildcat at Eastern Medikit in 2007:

http://gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com/gurgaonworkersnews-no911/#fn4

Article on struggle at Harsoria Healthcare in 2012:

http://gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com/gurgaonworkersnews-no-950/#fn1

Further news snippets:

“The management has stopped production since May 18 without any prior notice and stopped coming to work since then,” said Sanjay Malik, the president of All Eastern Medikit Employees’ Union. “There is no electricity or drinking water, just a few security guards and 2,000 workers sitting idle,” he said. On August 2, the factory owner did not come to the office of the deputy labour commissioner where the workers and other officials had been kept waiting. The workers were expecting something from the talks between the labour department and company owners. “It seems that the company is not interested in anything now, so now we have hopes that the court will get us our dues,” said Malik. “We met the district commissioner 15 days ago and he said that he would look into the matter, but has failed to do so. We met the DC again to remind him of our woes and told him that we would sit on a hunger strike if the operations do not get started and our salaries are not paid.He will be responsible if the agitation goes out of hand,” said Sanjay Malik, president, Eastern Medikit employees union.

Advocate Santosh Pandey, representing the company, said the employees had stopped working. “The workers wanted to go on an illegal strike and prevented the release of finished goods worth Rs 5 crore from the factory,” he said, adding that the management stopped going to the factory for fear of violence. Apart from shop-floor workers at its five plots in Gurgaon, Eastern Medikit had around 400 managerial staffers. “We have not been paid for even longer than the workers,” said a senior manager of the company who didn’t want to be identified. “We have been in touch with the management for our dues, but there have been no clear answers,” he said, adding that the unstated plan seems to be to abandon the business and gradually dispose off the land assets in Gurgaon. CARE downgraded Eastern Medikit’s ratings in December 2011 to ‘CARE D’ – indicating that a default had already occurred or was likely to occur. “The rating revision took into account the delays in debt servicing by EML,” said the CARE analyst in charge of Eastern Medikit.( ET Bureau Aug 6, 2012, 03.35AM IST)

*** Report on struggle at Senior Flextronics automobile supplier in ManesarSenior Flexonics is a multi-national automobile supplier. Workers in the Manesar plant have been trapped between lock-out and symbolic actions.

Senior Flexonics Worker (Plot 89, Sector 8, IMT Manesar)

We have already written about the lock-out at this international automobile supplier. Workers were kicked out by the police on 19th of May 2012, since then they are running back and forth between small demonstrations and meetings at the labour department. In mid-June workers started a sit-in protest in front of the labour department, far away from the industrial area. On 21st of May management had given a dismissal letter to those workers hired through contractors who had been employed at Senior Flexonics for a longer time. Representatives of various unions met with the DC in Gurgaon about the situation. A demonstration was organised. Inside the factory production runs with the help of workers hired in January 2012. On 2nd of July around 60 permanent workers of Senior Flexonics again have a sit-in protest at the labour department. Management says that aprt from 15 workers, all the other can come back on duty. After six months of struggle experiences do the workers at Senior Flexonics not see the need to find a different path of struggle? Instead of sitting in front of the labour department office, Senior Flexonics workers could find more relieve and support by addressing other workers in IMT Manesar directly.

Article on earlier stages of the Senior Flexonics dispute:

http://gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com/gurgaonworkersnews-no-950/#fn2

*** Text on strike of hospital nurses in Faridabad

On 7th of May 2012 around 330 nurses employed at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences and 130 nurses at QRG Central Hospital in Faridabad went on strike for higher wages and workplace related improvements. Going back and forth between the Haryana labour department, the administration and the chief minister, the struggling nurses became disheartened. The support of various trade unions and members of parliament in Keral (most nurses are from Keral) could not bring about significant changes of the situation. When the police raised serious charges against the nurses at Central Hospital, it was the last straw – after one month of strike the nurses went back to work. But with a demonstration on the 8th of June the nurses at the Asian Hospital continued their strike. The female and male nurses continued their sit-down protest in the open summer heat. Contrary to the hope of management the nurses remained determined. Several negotiation meetings between management, labour commissioner and SDM took place. The dispute circled around the question “We won’t take the five [suspended] back on” and “All should be allowed to return to work”. The leadership of the National(ist) Kongress Party demonstrated in support on the 20th of June in front of Kerala House in Delhi and ministers issued announcements about the struggle. On 27th of June the deputy labour commissioner declared that there wont be any wage increase, that nurses will be shifted between departments and that the five [suspended] will remain outside for fifteen days – there will be an inquiry. ‘Accept these points and management will return to the negotiation table’. The nurses did not accept these proposals by the labour commissioner and Asian Hospital management. In return, labour commissioner and manager did not agree to the offer of the nurses’ representatives: no wage increase, but paid strike days; no shifts between departments; the five will be taken back after 15 days. The chief minister of Kerala announced the agreement on 3rd of July. When the nurses went back to work, everything turned out to be different from what was announced as agreement. Many nurses were told that they won’t be taken back, because new nurses had been hired. Workers were shifted from here to there. All nurses refused there conditions. The chief minister of Kerala was phoned. Another agreement: 80 per cent of the nurses will attend a six days class, they will then work where they had worked before; for the remaining 20 per cent of nurses it will take 40 to 45 days before they will be taken back on duty. The nurses’ representatives signed this agreement, but because the managing director of the Asian Hospital had left, management did not sign the agreement. The nurses who returned from the strike now sit in the hospital hall and watch documentaries…

—-

*** Report on blind workers strike in Faridabad

From: Faridabad Majdoor Samachar. No. 283Blind WorkersIn Mundka (Delhi) and Mujesar (Faridabad) work around 450 blind workers of the National Blind Peoples’ Union (NFB) in factories. They don’t receive the minimum wage. They don’t receive ESI cards and PF forms. Between April and June 2011 a lot of them lost their jobs. They were often forced to stay longer than 8 hours and they received nno payment for these extra-hours. On 9th of November management said that they will shift payment to piecerate, according to calculation of the blind workers they would be paid 2,600 Rs per months for working 12 hours every day. In order to resist management plans the blind workers went on strike. On 24th of November 2011 workers and supporters hold a demonstration in front of the headquarter of the NFB. According to the workers the actual goal of the NFB is not: “Leadership of the blind through the blind”. but “exploitation of the blind through the blind”. Blind people have posts high up in the NFB. After the demonstration on 24th of November did not show results the blind workers started a protest assembly in the governmental district. Further demonstrations and meeting on 3rd of December, on ‘World Disability Day’. Another big demonstration on 21st of December. A sit-down protest in fronbt of the ministry for social justice on 2nd of January. The NFB has hired some new workers for 4,000 to 5,000 Rs per month, supposedly to replace the protesting workers.

3) About the Project -Updates on Gurgaon Workers News

*** ON THE QUESTION OF WORKERSÕ ORGANIZATION, by Mouvement CommunisteRecent article for debate, written for a meeting in Nagpur, India.

ON THE QUESTION OF WORKERSÕ ORGANIZATION

“Workers emancipation will be the task of the workers themselves” First International statutes. Karl Marx

“Communism is for everybody or for nobody” Unknown militant

“Movement creates organization but organization does not create movement” Luciano Parlanti, Fiat worker, founder of the Worker Student Assembly 1970.

These three sentences set out the basis of what is to be done, give the goal, and indicate the method and the actor, but do not provide recipes because we donÕt need recipes but we need to restore praxis to understand what to do.

Necessity of organization

The question of organization is at the heart of any transformation process, whatever class carries it out. There is no revolution without organization. Organization is the most obvious material proof of social being, of social nature. It is equally an expression of its state of consciousness, as the collective subject of social transformation.

Historically, proletarian organization corresponds first to the emergence of the exploited class as a class that does not define itself by its reality of oppression and exploitation. Proletarian organization thus corresponds to its process of overcoming its nature as a class for capital. It experiences backwards as well as forwards steps. Proletarian organization is the concrete manifestation of the lived contradiction for the proletariat between its being for capital and its being for itself.

Without organization the dual nature of the proletariat would not have any tangible reality. Organization translates and formalizes the consciousness of this contradiction, this dual nature, and of the necessity of its overcoming through the process of liberation from the wage system. Organization is above all a matter of consciousness. To say it better: it is consciousness embodied in the revolutionary class.

The question of organization is asked correctly above all by making it dependent on a formalization of revolutionary consciousness gained collectively by means of the real daily struggles against capital and its State. To create an organization those struggles must be sufficiently intense to generate revolutionary consciousness. The form of these struggles can only be political, that is potentially overcoming the simple restructuration of dominant social relationships to sketch out other social relationships incompatible with societies divided into classes and possessing value.

Its political dimension

The expression of this antagonism can only be political, not in the sense of the bourgeois art of mediation, but in the sense of the revolutionary theory of rupture with the dominant social relationships, of methodical deconstruction and of the planned foundation of a society without value, classes and State.

Communism as a real movement cannot be reduced to the immediacy of its demand, even by radical means. On the contrary, this is a long term process, uneven, made of steps forwards and backwards that impose on the class that bears it, in the actual world, the need to define a project, a complex plan of social transformation, a plan with a political form and a social content, a plan that is not conceived in Marxist laboratories but that is built within struggles and through political class struggle. This struggle, along with the organization that it produces, performs life-sized experimentation with a new power.

This new power is first restricted to a prohibitive power (prohibition of the orders of factory management, prohibition of commodity circulation, prohibition of the use of ruling class power, etc.), Once the demolition of the existing order is widely in evidence, then working class power rushes along the narrow path towards the reconstruction of social relationships on a new communist basis.

To do this, political organization that exists inside this project that was born for this purpose must plunge its roots into the productive and reproductive processes of capital. The decomposition movement of capitalist social relationships exists only in relation to the dimension of these fully deployed social relationships. It grows through all spheres of capital. A society of capital that is extremely centralized, planned and diffused to integrate and subordinate every relationship between individuals everywhere in the world. Capital rules both by globalizing and individualizing social relations

Today

Our role in this process consists of politically and theoretically defending this perspective and, through intervention in class conflicts, contributing to the growth of the collective capacity to understand and criticize the real terms of confrontation. For this task we want to stress the importance of two major tools:

1. The concrete critique of capital and its real movement, realized by means of a rigorous but not dogmatic application of the categories elaborated by Marx and Engels in their critique of political economy.

2. The worker’s enquiry as a method used to understand the thousand and one facets of exploitation in the greatest possible detail, the living composition of the exploited class and its perception of its own condition, all at the same time. When proletarians appropriate worker’s enquiry for themselves it becomes a tool of organization and understanding.

For us, production is the main sphere of capital’s existence, capital√ïs contradiction and thus the possibility of overthrowing it. This does not mean there is nothing to do in the reproductive sphere – on the contrary! – but that sites of production are the centre of the capitalist system where the collective worker is confronted with the collective machine (i.e. the whole assembly of machines, production process and ‘factory order’) This is the place where the naked truth of capitalism can be understand by workers and where it can be attacked.

Then two questions arise:

1. What are the places of production today where the big factories of the Õ60 and Ô70s have disappeared in the Western countries (but obviously not in India and China, for instance)?

2. What are the means to make the collective worker into a living thing?

A site of production is a place where raw materials, semi-finished products or parts are transformed or parts are assembled in a finished product. But production is not restricted to this place. It must include all the places (upstream and downstream) necessary to the realization of commodities (a commodity only becomes a commodity when it is sold on a solvent market) transportation, storage, etc. This is fundamental to understand because this knowledge is a necessary basis for struggles to do the most harm to the most bosses with the least cost to the workers.

“In the first place, according to Marx, the reproduction of capitalist society resides in the act of productive consumption of labour power, that is to say within the factory, while the capitalist sets in motion and uses the creative power of the collective worker in the labour process (process of immediate production). If this is the case, it is erroneous to look for the foundation of consciousness elsewhere than in the workshops of social production, i.e. elsewhere than in the daily struggles against the machine, the factory authorities, and the organization of concrete work.” MC Letter #11 October 2003

But we (like the operaists before us) understand the factory not as a place of production (while continuing to analyse the cycle of production so as to understand what type of organisation of production requires what form of workers’ struggle) but first of all as a place of struggle where workers constitute themselves as a class in itself.

There have been and still are political groups or workers collectives that still like to criticize union policies because they are not enough this or too much that. They focus on the form (Unions) but don’t question what is the basis in capitalist society that allows the existence of unions.“The reproduction of the exploited class, of the commodity of which it is the exclusive bearer ‘the ability to do the work which creates new value’ is at the origin of the union question. The commodity labour power therefore possesses two specific properties:

1. On the one hand, it is the only commodity having the faculty, in certain objective conditions of production, of expanding wealth in the form of capital. This is a fact generally known and accepted.

2. On the other hand, it is the only commodity which is systematically sold below its value. The value added does not serve to remunerate labour power as such but only to buy the things necessary for its reproduction. It is considered by the capitalists as an objective resource of production, an innate use value, in the same way as the earth is.

Even on this level, that of the mercantile exchange of equivalents, labour power is not situated at all on the same plane as

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