Dharna before Rajashthan Bhavan in New Delhi
With the indefinite fast of five terminated workers of Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India entering the fifth day, hundreds of terminated workers of the factory have decided to stage a dharna (demonstration) in front of Rajasthan Bhavan, near Mandi House Metro Station in New Delhi. They are demanding that the false charges of violence and destruction of property on 73 workers be withdrawn and all workers terminated or suspended by HMSI following the conflict in February 2016 be reinstated.
On 16th February 2016 workers had gone on strike at the Tapukara factory after an altercation with a supervisor. Rather than negotiating on the issue with the workers, HMSI had called in the police, who resorted to excessive force against the striking workers within the factory campus. This had caused grievous injuries to hundreds of workers. The police arrested 73 workers on charges of damaging company property and instigating violence. Thousands of contract workers and over 200 permanent workers were retrenched. In order to curb their protest actions, Rajasthan administration has barred them from organizing any protest near the factory. But the government has not acted to resolve the conflict and register the workers union. It is in these conditions that the terminated workers of HMSI have decided to embark on this latest agitation.
Over 500 terminated workers have joined the five workers and have been on relay hunger fast in solidarity with them since Monday, 19th September 2016. Representatives from over 120 plant level unions including four plants of Maruti Suzuki, Honda plant in Manesar, Hero Motor Corp, and Bajaj Auto, have extended their solidarity and addressed the protesting workers. Many Central Trade Unions, barring INTUC and BMS, have come in support of the workers. Student organizations in Delhi University and JNU have also supported the workers by organizing meetings in campus. The students have also formed Honda Workers Struggle Solidarity Committee (Honda Mazdoor Sangarsh Ekjuditha Committee). The workers have given a call for solidarity actions across India and have planned to engage with workers unions to gain their support. They have appealed for financial support to continue their struggle.