Workers across Tamilnadu boycott lunch; Join Protests against Maruti Riots Case Judgment
March 16th was declared a National Day of action against the Maruti Riots Case verdict that has incarcerated 31 workers including all the union leaders of Maruti Suzuki Workers Union for the fire accident and subsequent death of a HR Manager on July 18th 2011. Of the 148 workers arrested, charged and jailed for over 3 years, 117 were acquitted from all charges, 13 were charged with murder and attempt to murder and 18 were charged with causing grievous injury. The sentencing for the 31 workers found guilty will begin today 17th March.
Lunch Boycott across factories in Chennai
Workers from Sanmina, On load Gears, CMF Oragadam, Diamond Chains and many other factories had boycotted lunch in show of solidarity with the incarcerated workers of Maruti Suzuki. The Sanmina workers who are themselves conducting an on site protest after a General Manager is said to have used casteist slurs against a worker, boycotted their food and 4 workers including a woman worker had to be treated after fainting. Hyundai unions have called for a boycott lunch tomorrow in solidarity with the maruti workers. Workers from Shanti Gears in Coimbatore also joined the one day hunger fast by boycotting lunch at factory canteens
Demonstrations demanding Justice to Maruti Workers
Workers from TI Cycles, Diamond Chains, Innovators, On Load Gears, Saimeera, Jay Engineering, Sanmina, Caterpillar participated in the hunger fast. Over 100 workers participated. The meeting, organized by AICCTU, was addressed by worker from Saimeera, Caterpillar, Gunabalan of Pricol, Rajaguru of Hyundai.
It was presided by Com. Palanivel, District Sec for AICCTU. Comrade AS Kumar gave the concluding address and gave the revenue and the profits that Maruti was making during 2012 and 2013 and how repressive the conditions of workers were in Maruti.
Comrade Gunabalan traced how the case against him was falsified when he was not even in town on the day of the Pricol workers and highlighted the similarities between Pricol and Maruti workers. He said that they would continue to raise the issue of Maruti workers in the rally being planned March 23rd and on May 1st. Leaders and union organizers from AITUC and Kumugha Viduthalai Thozhillalar sangam participated in the hunger fast
Over 200 Workers from TI cycles, Tubes India and informal sector participated in a demonstration near Avadi Municipality. Organized by NDLF, the workers raised slogans against the maruti verdict, demanding justice for the workers and end to the judicial bais towards capitalist. Com. Mukundan, State President of NDLF, presided over the demonstration, while com. Vijaya Kumar, State Treasures of NDLF spoke in detail about the events leading upto the riots, the criminal actions of the Maruti Suzuki management and the travesty of the judicial process that led to excessive sufferings and financial loss for the 148 workers, of whom 117 have been acquitted entirely. NDLF has also organized similar protests in Pondicherry, Hosur and Coimbatore.
The recurring theme in the speeches was the visible double standards in the adjudication of cases and delivery of sentences. Calling it a ‘political Judgment’ all speakers pointed out the manner in which cases against management and owners for violation of labour laws are procrastinated while cases against workers for protests and violence are fast tracked and harsh punishments delivered. The Sufferings of the Pricol workers in Coimbatore, who were incarcerated in a similar case, was highlighted. Speakers also spoke of the glorious struggles in 1921 against B&C mills in Chennai, in which the British colonial government had acted with excessive force in putting down the workers and arresting key leaders. ‘How different was this government which we have supposedly elected democratically?’ questioned Vijayakumar, speaker at the NDLF meeting. The support for the workers of maruti, especially the incarcerated workers were visible. A.S Kumar, also demanded compensation for the 117 acquitted maruti workers and immediate restoration of jobs with back wages. ‘They have been jailed for more than 3 years, how heavily have they suffered, emotionally as well as livelihood wise, the government should compensate them for this unjust suffering’ he said.
From one Prisoner of Conscience to another Comrade
Gunabalan, one of the Pricol 8, who had been recently acquitted of all charges by the High Court of Madras, said that the workers of Maruti are not alone in this struggle and it was essential for every workers to stand with them at this crucial moment. From his experience as a under trail for many years, he said his greatest strength had been the frequent visits of colleagues, union leaders and family members and the news that workers were continuing to protest, raise money and take care of his family. ‘ this is essential for the workers to know as it will keep them in high spirits’ he said. He also asked the jailed workers not to lose heart and to know that the working class was fighting for them.
Solidarity Actions in Delhi
Class solidarity action for Maruti-Suzuki workers is taking place in many parts of the country today. In the Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal-Neemrana industrial belt, a Few lakh workers from over 40 companies skipped unch/dinner yesterday. All the unions in the belt came together to stand in solidarity with the Maruti workers whose punishment will be decided today. Irrespective of the category of exploitation, permanent, contract, trainee, apprentice raised their solidarity voices against the shocking judgement by the lower court and refused food. All the unions held a meeting in public park on 15th March and have decided and urged all their members to reach the court today. Future course of action will be decided after the court announces the punishment.
In Delhi, workers affiliated to a variety of unions and solidarity activists gathered at Hariyana Bhavan to protest against the blatantly unjust , pro-corporate and anti-worker verdict which was announced on 10th March. However in keeping with the anti-worker policies and actions of the state, Delhi police immediately arrested all the workers who had gathered and detained them. They left some of those gathered at Jantar Mantar and slowly the site of protest shifted to Jantar Mantar.
Protests also took place in Ludhiana, Bhilai, Rudrapur.
here is an expanding list of factories where workers solidarity actions have been reported
1. Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, Manesar
2. Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union, Gurgaon
3. Maruti Suzuki Powertrain India Employees Union, Manesar
4. Suzuki Motorcycles India Employees Union, Khedki Daula
5. Honda Motorcycle and Scooters Employees Union, Manesar
6. Hero MotoCorp Employees Union, Gurgaon
7. Hero MotoCorp Employees Union, Dharuhera
8. Daikin air-conditioning Employees Union, Neemrana
9. Bellsonica Auto Components Employees Union, Manesar
10. Kansai Nerolac Paints Karmchari Union, Bawal
11. Rico Auto Workers Union, Dharuhera
12. Omax Auto Employees Union, Dharuhera
13. Bajaj Motors Employees Union, Narsinghpur
14. Sunbeam Workers Union, Gurgaon
15. Munjal Kiriu Employees Union, Manesar
16. Sona Koyo Steering Workers Union, Manesar
17. Microtech Union, Bawal
18. Ahresty Union, Bawal,
19.Pricol Union, Manesar
20. Hema Union, Gurgaon
21. Napino Union, Manesar
22. Satyam Auto Union, Manesar
23. GKN Union, Dharuhera
24. Metro Ortem Union, Gurgaon
25. FCC Union, Manesar
26. Munjal Showa Union, Gurgaon
27. Munjal Showa Union, Manesar
28. Talbros Union, Manesar
29. Perfetti Union, Manesar
30. Frigoglass Union, Manesar
31. Organica Medical, Manesar
32. ENKY Union, Manesar
33. Uniproduct Union, Bawal
34. Autofit Union, Dharuhera
35. Endurance Union, Manesar
36. Asti Union, Manesar
37. MK Auto Union, Gurgaon
38. Harsoriya Union, Bawal
39. Amul Union, Manesar
40. Moser Bear Union, Noida
41. LG Union, Noida
- Diamond Chain, Chennai
- TI Cycles, Chennai
- Tube India Products, Chennai
- Onload Gears
- Innovators, Chennai
- Saimeera, Chennai
- Caterpillar, Chennai
- Sanmina, Chennai
- Jay Engineering, Chennai
- Shanti Gears, Coimbatore
- CNF Automotive, Chennai