The student movement and working class struggle : Is an alliance possible?

Both the working class  movement and students movement in India are under siege. Campaigns like Make in India and the closely associated labour law reforms are  taking away the basic rights of the workers, making it exceedingly difficult for them to organize and resist this onslaught. The student community is India is also under siege due to a fatal combination of Hindutva, which   is trying to impose RSS idelogy on campuses and Neo-liberal forces, which aims to privatize  all levels of education by means of reforms like  New education Policy and increasing emphasis on FDI in education.

In such times, is it possible for the two movements to join hands and reinforce each other ? As there are many commonalities between the two struggles , what is it that stops these two movements from coming together and build a cross class alliance. 

To analyze such questions, we spoke to two young political/student activists in Delhi. Amit  is a PhD  student in department of Economics at  JNU and  is organizing secretary of Workers Solidarity Center, Guragaon. Nayan is a research scholar in Social Anthropology  at DU as well as part of Krantikari Naujawan Sabha(KNS) which has, over the years, precisely tried to build such a alliance between student community and the working class.

Q : Can you tell us briefly about the engagement of student movement in Delhi with workers struggles in last 10 years.

Amit, Nayan : The initial engagement of students with the workers struggle in Gurgaon-Manesar automobile belt started with the Manesar Honda workers struggle in 2005. But a proper engagement materialized during the Maruti struggle. Continue reading

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    Posted in Automobile Industry, Education and Working Class, Working class against communalism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

    Migrant Labourers: stuck in a web of contractors, builders, lack of unions, welfare schemes

    Rashmika Majumdar (a student at Asian College of Journalism, Chennai)

    The Madambakkam Lake is surrounded by windowless structures. On the one hand, there are multi-storied apartments, super specialty hospitals and offices of multinational companies, most of them grey, glass buildings. But scattered around the banks of the lake are also single storied, grey and windowless tin shacks. The latter is populated by those who built the structures of modernity brick-by-brick.

    Making a living miles from from Home

    Making a living miles from from Home

    Migrant labourers who have helped construct various multi-storeyed buildings and make several infrastructural projects a reality survive in deplorable conditions. Even as they struggle to stay in the organized sector, their working conditions imposed by their employers and contractors force them into the unorganized sector. This story is an investigation into the lives of migrant labourers as well as their families in Chennai.

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      Posted in Contract Workers, Informal sector, Labour Laws, Migrant Workers, Women Workers, Worksite Accidents/Deaths | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

      “We are those lions Mr. Manager” – The Great Grunwick Strike

      Women lead the Workers Strike at Grunwick

      Women lead the Workers Strike at Grunwick

      The Grunwick strike spanning 2 years by Asian African Immigrant women workers in Britain is a lesson in history on the class unity that can be forged among workers across race and gender and the classic example of reformist trade union politics failing the working class yet again. Forty years since the strike in 1976, the documentary aptly titled ‘The Great Grunkwick Strike‘ captures the spirit of the struggle through reflections by strikers and trade union activists. The documentary, directed by Chris Thomas, explores the conditions of the factory, the height of the struggles, the repression by police, the strength of the rank and file leadership led by Jayaben Desai and the betrayal by the national leadership through photos and videos from the struggle.

      In mid 1976, a few workers walked out of Grunwick factory in North West London protesing against low wages and dismal conditions at work. The workers were predominantly East African immigrants and South Asian diaspora from East Africa, who had migrated to Britain after the emerging political condition in East Africa. Grunwick plant, which ran a mail order photo processing facility, was one of the companies eager to recruit these women immigrants, who were considered docile [1]. The conditions of work were dismal with wages lesser than those paid to local workers, compulsory overtime, no proper breaks and disrespectfully abusive . With British Trade Unions mainly organizing the white British workers, the companies usually were able to get away with such dismal conditions, leading to the strike.

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        Posted in Art & Literature Review, Factory Workers, Migrant Workers, Strikes, Women Workers, Workers Struggles, Working Class Vision | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on “We are those lions Mr. Manager” – The Great Grunwick Strike

        மாநேசர் பெல்சோனிகா தொழிற்சாலையில் அடக்குமுறை – தொழிலாளர்களின் தொடர் போராட்டம்

        மாநேசரில் உள்ள மாருதி சுசுகி தொழிற்சாலைக்கு கார்கள் உற்பத்தி செய்யும் ஜப்பானைச் சார்ந்த பெல்சோனிகா தொழிற்சாலை நிர்வாகம் தொழிலாளர்களின் தொழிற்சங்க உரிமையை மறுத்து வருகிறது. மாருதி கம்பெனி வளாகத்தில் உள்ள இந்த தொழிற்சாலையில் சுமார் 1000 தொழிலாளர்கள் வேலை செய்கின்றனர். இத்தொழிலாளர்கள் தொழிற்சங்கம் அமைத்ததற்காக, நிர்வாகம் 150 தொழிலாளர்களை வேலை விட்டு நீக்கியுள்ளது. தொழிலாளர்களை மறுபடியும் வேலைக்கு அமர்த்த தொழிலாளர் துறையும், உயர்நீதி மன்றமும் ஆணையிட்டும், நிர்வாகம் தொழிலாளர்களை வேலைக்கு அமர்த்த மறுத்து வருகிறது.

        Bellsonica Workers at a Hall meeting

        Bellsonica Workers at a Hall meeting

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          Posted in Automobile Industry, Contract Workers, Factory Workers, News, Workers Struggles, தமிழ் | Tagged , , | Comments Off on மாநேசர் பெல்சோனிகா தொழிற்சாலையில் அடக்குமுறை – தொழிலாளர்களின் தொடர் போராட்டம்

          Police halt a planned may day rally at Red Hills for half hour

          Workers organized under DTUC were briefly barred from celebrating may day in Red hills of Chennai by Police in spite of having obtained prior permission. The police briefly barred the meeting citing special permissions to be taken under Election commission. Over 100 workers had gathered to commemorate the may day martyrs and condemn the anti worker policies of Greaves Cotton company which is under lock out. The speeches also reflected the pro capitalist policies pursued by Central and State Governments that continue to restrict hard won rights of the working class. The workers conducted the rally and a meeting after half hour discussion with the police. Comrade Annadurai, Manivannan, Jyoti, Karunakaran and Arumugaselvam addressed the meeting which started with the inauguration of union board and revolutionary songs.

          DTUC_May_Day_Rally2

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            Posted in Factory Workers, News | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Police halt a planned may day rally at Red Hills for half hour

            ரெனால்ட்-நிசான் தொழிலாளர்களின் மாபெரும் மேதினக் கூட்டம்

            ஓரகடத்தில் உள்ள ரெனால்ட்-நிசான் தொழிற்சாலையில் இருந்து ஒன்றுபட்ட தொழிலாளர் கூட்டமைப்பு(யு.எல்.எஃப்) தொழிலாளர்கள் மே 1 அன்று சர்வ தேச உழைப்பாளர் தினத்தை கொண்டாடினர். மேதின தியாகிகளை நினைவு கூறவும் தொழிற்சங்க உரிமையை மறுத்து வரும் நிர்வாகப் போக்கை கண்டித்தும் 1500 தொழிலாளர்கள் சென்னை பூந்தமல்லியில் மாபெரும் அரங்கக் கூட்டத்தை நடத்தினர். கூட்டத்தில் பேசிய தலைவர்கள் மே தினத்தின் சின்னமான சிகாகோ ஹேமார்க்கெட் போராட்டத்தை நினைவு கூறினர். தொழிலாளர்களை தொடர் போராட்டத்திற்கு ஒன்று கூடி தயாராகுமாறு அவர்கள் வலியுறுத்தினர்.

            Renault Nissan ULF Workers

            Renault Nissan ULF Workers

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              Posted in Automobile Industry, Factory Workers, News, Workers Struggles, தமிழ் | Tagged , , | Comments Off on ரெனால்ட்-நிசான் தொழிலாளர்களின் மாபெரும் மேதினக் கூட்டம்