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.
Comrade Karunakaran highlighted the struggles and protests of working class over centuries to achieve the 8 hour work, 8 hour rest and 8 hour recreation. He condemned the pro corporate policies of the current Modi Government and the previous Congress Government at the Centre and the DMK, ADMK governments at the state level, who have been working in gloves with capitalists to dismantle the labour protection laws. He highlighted the hurdles placed by bureacracy in workers coming together and their aid to companies such as Greaves Cotton who have closed the company without prior announcement. He closed with the need for changing the political structure and the electoral politics and called for a representational electoral politics which can only be truly democratic. He asked the workers, minorites and oppressed to come together to overturn the political economic structure that is pro capitalist.
Speaking on the occasion, Com Arumuga Selvam, a Greaves Cotton worker, highlighted the conditions of employment that sought to restrict workers from unionizing. The Greaves Cotton had over 150 permanent workers and over 400 contract workers and trainees. He said that the company had titled the workers as production associate so that the workers would not unionize. After the workers unionized, the company has retaliated by an unannounced lock-out. Reacting to the reason given by the management, which has said that the company has been running on loss, he pointed to the balance sheet of the company which has shown increased profit and production. He attributed the company’s lock-out to workers forming a union. He vowed that the workers of Greaves Cotton will continue their struggle for right to employment and right to unionization.
tamil version can be accessed here