Renault Nissan Workers affiliated to ULF mark International Labour Day
Over 1500 Renault Nissan Workers came together in Poonamalle, Chennai, to celebrate the International Labour Day, to remember the martyrs and to show their strength to the management that refuses to recognize them as a legitimate union. Retelling the legend of Haymarket incident, the leaders motivated the workers to face the struggle ahead, all the while reassuring the assembled workers that their struggle will be legal and steady even if it is slow.
Over 96 workers have been charged with various forms of disciplinary action since the workers affiliated to ULF and wrote to the management to recognize them as the workers union. Of these 6 have been dismissed and a score of them are under suspension pending enquiry for charges as trivial as having posted status updates on facebook about company matters. These workers are being supported by the union through the funds collected by them as subscriptions. Many of the suspended workers spoke to the audience and reitrated their commitment to the fight.
Com. Moorthy, the secretary of ULF branch in sriperumbudur, and a renualt nissan worker highlight the need to make sacrifices and not fall back in the face of threats. “we have to be steadfast, they will ask us to quit ULF and join the management union to avoid transfers and change of departments, we should happily take the transfer. If we refuse to back off, they will fail and we shall win”. Adv. Prakash, the president of ULF, addressing the workers mocked at the management’s said that they might not be in strike today and it might feel that the conciliation process that has been initiated by labour department will move in the right direction, but they should never drop their preparedness. If these negotiations fail, the workers will be forced to strike work and support and solidarity is very important. Highlighting that the struggle is not merely about permanent workers, he said ” we have to engage the contract workers, we have to get them to support our union. this struggle should include them”.
The treasures, while presenting the annual financial statement, said he is proud to play this role as he feels he is not merely an accountant of the funds, but a custodian of the ‘labour’ of the workers which is very precious. He listed the major expenses and also highlighted the financial support extended to the families of two workers who had recently expired.
The workers are in a serious struggle with the management as it has tried to prop up a independent union inorder to delegitimize ULF. Their notice to strike has also led to automatic conciliation process with Labour commissioner’s office as Renault Nissan enjoys public utility status. The workers sounded confident and motivated for the struggles ahead.