Faridabad Mazdoor Samachar is a monthly publication in Hindi. It started in 1982 when 1000 copies were being published every month in 2 page format. Currently they publish 7000 copies and distribute it for free by standing on the road-side in shift changing hours. It takes them 10 days to distribute 7000 copies and most of the copies are taken by industrial workers working in thousands of factories in Faridabad and adjoining industrial areas of Delhi.In Faridabad, three-fourths of the factory workers are invisible workers, or workers who are not in the company’s records. 85% are temporary workers and workers hired through contractors. The statutory minimum wages, presently Rs. 3,914 [US$ 83.28 approx.] per month, are not paid to 80% of the work force. Even permanent workers are not paid wages for two-three-four-six months. Workers of hundreds of factories that have been closed have not been paid their legal dues even after five-ten-fifteen years of factory closure. Each issue of ‘Faridabad Majdoor Samachar’ caries articulations of workers of 50 to 60 factories on such issues. First hand experiences of the wage workers makes up most of the newspaper. At Thozhilalar Koodam, we are planning to print one article each month from FMS in Tamil.
Law breaking has become normal. Law abiding is an exception. Laws are not working. Laws have become meaningless. Laws have lost their utility. Is this an indication of something unusual ? This is an indication of the fact that social relations which are the foundation of law, those social relations have stopped working, those social relations have lost their meaning and utility. The failure of social relations and laws is looking for a new social contract and is a harbinger of a new, radical social restructuring. What is the utility of a social structure based on the notions of high-low, market-money, sell-buy, loss-profit, rupee-paise and exploitation of labour ? The seven billion people of this world are pondering over this question ? The factory workers have a role to play in this dialogue. In this context, to contribute to the the dialogue, Mazdoor Samachar presents a series of interviews.
SKH metals worker : SKH metals is located Inside Gate number 4 of the Maruti suzuki premises at IMT Manesar. Thousand workers who belong to seven contract companies are employed here. The factory was established in 2006 here but not a single permanent worker works in this company. Here, inside the press shops, welding shops, paint shops workers work in 2 12 hours shifts and make large suspensions and axles for the Maruti cars. Overtime is paid at single rate. The welding shop has 2 sections in which 80 to 90 robots are functional. Many times sensors didn’t work and accidents used to happen. After death of a worker due to a robot, maintenance did improve in the plant but company reduced the manpower. In stations where 9 workers used to work, there are now only 6 workers and some workers operate 2 stations at once! Due to more work and especially continuous 12 hour work of welding, the strain on eyes are immense. It is common to see workers quit, workers getting fired or new contract workers coming in. Whenever Maruti Suzuki had a holiday, SKH metals also has a holiday and so for 50-60 days in a year SKH metals remained closed. During these days, company did not pay the workers. We have to report 15 minutes before every shift, but taking into account this time, we ask to leave early or after a few weeks, ask for a holiday , it is not given to us. Two three years back they started giving us bonus, but it’s a meager 10 rupees per shift.