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India: 18 July 2013 Bombay and Bangalore Workers in Solidarity with Maruti Automobile Workers in Manesar

by sacw.net, 19 July 2013

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[In solidarity with Maruti workers struggle in Manesar, there was demonstration and meeting held in Bombay on the 18th July by the Trade Unions Solidarity Committee. The handbill in Hindi is attached along with some photos (by Stanley). A solidarity action was also held in Bangalore where a leaflet was produced in English. (the text is posted below) ]

BOMBAY Photos and Handbill



Maruti Handbill in Bombay by Trade Unions Solidarity Committee
in Hindi

Leaflet from Bangalore

SOLIDARITY WITH MARUTI WORKERS!

On the 18th of July, 2013, we, citizens of Bangalore, express our solidarity with the struggling workers of the Maruti Suzuki plant. This date marks a full year following the outbreak of violence unleashed by the Maruti management , beginning with casteist abuses directed at a worker, and culminating in physical violence resulting in the death of one person, which was used as a pretext to fire and criminalize workers fighting for their labor rights. This physical violence was neither recorded by management on the CCTV cameras they had installed on the factory premises, nor prevented by either the 100 goons hired by management to intimidate workers that day, or the police who were available on standby but were prevented from entering the factory. The workers have long been demanding an impartial, independent enquiry into the events of that day. Instead, in the absence of evidence, 147 workers have been held in jail without bail for a whole year, and 546 permanent and 1800 contract workers’ jobs have been terminated in the Maruti Suzuki factory.

Of course in the absence of evidence, the workers who faced repression were those who had been organizing for better working conditions. The workload in this industrial assembly line factory reduced workers to constant machines, who were denied leave and penalized for taking even a few days’ leave by deducting upto 50% of the monthly salary. Workers faced humiliating work conditions such as being denied access to the toilet except during fixed times, and workers who fell sick on the work site were not allowed to seek health care. Contract workers were paid measly wages and were constantly under the threat of losing their jobs. All this for an industry that made over 3000 crore rupees and 12 lakh cars per year as of 2011-2012 based on the labor of these workers.

During the course of this year, the Maruti workers have faced unprecedented repression not only from the Maruti Suzuki management but also from the state. Peaceful demonstrations before the authorities in May were only met with brutal lathi charges and arrests, and now the entire Manesar area has been heavily militarized. Outrageously enough, government funds were withheld to panchayats in Haryana that pledged their support to the workers. How dare our government withhold funds contingent upon the decisions of a democratically elected local body?

Similarly, the Chandigarh High Court verdict dismissing the bail application of nine workers who have been in jail since July 2012 states, “The incident is a most unfortunate occurrence which has lowered the reputation of India in the estimation of the world. Foreign investors are not likely to invest their money in India out of fear of labour unrest.” Does our government exist to woo foreign investors or to protect its own citizens and the prime builders of everything in society - our workers? Does our government respect its own democratic mandate or the mandate of wealthy bloodsucking capitalists and foreign investors?

We stand with the Maruti workers and workers everywhere in protesting this state of affairs which increasingly affects every individual in this country – the denial of livelihood to workers, the parasitic hoarding of wealth by an already criminally wealthy elite, and the use of the state to enforce criminalization of anyone who opposes these heinous injustices. We are inspired by the Maruti workers, by their solidarity with the dalit worker who was verbally abused by the management on the morning of 18 July 2012, and by the unity they have forged between permanent and contract workers.

We stand by the demands of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union Provisional Working Committee:

Take back all the fabricated criminal cases against Maruti Suzuki workers and immediately release 147 workers. Quash all cases against the 10 activists in Kaithal. Immediately release all workers and activists.

Immediately reinstate the illegally terminated workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar plant, Suzuki Powertrain India plant and Suzuki Motorcycles India plant.

Institute an independent impartial inquiry into the incident of 18th July 2012.

Signed:

Maruti Workers Soldarity Forum - Karnataka

(Karnataka Shramik Shakti, People’s Democratic Forum, Karnataka Janashakti, Samanatha Mahila Vedike, KarnatakaVidyarthi Sangathane)