THE Central Committee of the TUCI during its meeting on 21st and 22nd July at Mumbai has passed the following resolution :
The Central Committee of the TUCI condemns the management of Maruti Udyog Ltd. at Manesar in Haryana and holds it solely responsible for the incident which resulted in the loss of the life of one manager.
The management has been practising a system of super exploitation by keeping workers as contract workers, through sham and bogus contractors, for years on end to deprive them of the benefits due to them as workers. The estimates of the number of contract workers varies from 55% of the 10000 strong workforce (managements estimate) to around 90%. These contract workers are paid only around Rs. 4500 per month, just about the minimum wage in Harayana. The permanent workers doing the same nature of work get paid around Rs. 25000 per month. This is clearly foul of the rules under the contract labour act, directing that contract workers doing the same nature of work as permanent worker deserve the same wage. The workers demand for a wage rise and other benefits have also not been addressed though overdue.
The Harayana Government has also flagrantly violated labour laws to favour the management. It took two strikes last year to finally get the government to allow the mere registration of a union of their own choice to the workers, though the Constitution of India clearly allows for forming unions of one’s choice and India is a signatory and has ratified the ILO convention which demands that workers be permitted to form unions of their choice. Even now steps are being taken by the management in cahoots with the Harayana Government to cancel this registration, which is clearly provocative and illegal. There is no law in India which allows the management in Harayan to “recognise” or “de-recognise” any union but still the management acts as though it has a right to “recognise” any union and the Government is supporting such illegality rather than enforcing the law.
The role of the press has been in the worst form of spreading misinformation. The incident has been made a basis for union-bashing and for renewed cries for new labour laws which will give even further rights to the management to “hire and fire”. Not a single major newspaper has put forward the view that it is the managements policy of super-exploitation of contract workers which is really to blame. No comment is made on Maruti’s and the Government’s flagrant violation of labour laws.
The incident itself, last Wednesday (18 July 2012), is the result of the managements attempt to intimidate the workers into signing a settlement by force, using strong-arm tactics. No doubt, there was a fracas in the factory where many workers and some managers did get hurt, but evidence points to the managements goons being on the rampage and the workers being on the defensive. The manager who died also lost his life more due to the fire than due to assault. The cause of the fire is still to be determined but there is no reason to believe that the workers started it.
After the incident, the Police machinery of the Government has been on the rampage, creating a reign of terror, raiding houses of workers at all hours of the night, arresting workers indiscriminately and slapping all sorts of untenable charges upon them. The management has locked out the factory, again in blatant violation of the law.
In these circumstances, we demand:
1. That the contract labour system be abolished in Maruti Udyog Ltd and all the contract workers be absorbed as permanent workers with effect from their initial dates of appointment and be paid all arrears accordingly;
2. That the workers demands for wages and benefits be settled immediately and amicably;
3. That the suspension orders against victimised workers be immediately revoked;
4. That the management immediately lift the lock-out and restore normalcy;
5. That the Government stop all attempts to interfere with the rights of the workers to form a union of their choice;
6. That the Government immediately stop the witch-hunt against the union leaders upon which it has embarked;
7. That the Government immediately take action against the management for violation of the provisions of the Contract Labour (Abolition and Regulation), 1971 and the rules made under it;
8. That the Government immediately scrap all the false cases against the workers and release all the arrested workers forthwith.
22nd July 2012