Two thousand car-workers at the Maruti/Suzuki Manesar plant in Gurgaon (Haryana) near Delhi are engaged in an intense struggle. A deal which ended their 33 day strike (the third this year) left 1,200 contract workers outside the gate, sacked. Some of the main strike leaders have also been victimised.
The workers have now occupied their factory and 2,500 police and company thugs have been mobilised against them. This has led to solidarity action spreading through other Maruti/Suzuki factories and at least 8,000 more car workers are on strike.
A full account of the strike and the demands of the workers can be found on the web-site of New Socialist Alternative (CWI in India). Below is a model protest that can be sent to the appropriate bodies and a letter of solidarity to send to the workers themselves. Most useful would be messages from other car-workers, especially those in Suzuki factories in other parts of the world.
2)Shiv Charan Lal Sharma Minister of Labour, Haryana government
This is with reference to the ongoing strike by the Suzuki employees belonging to the Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), Suzuki Powertrain and Suzuki Motorcycles India Limited involving more than 7,000 employees at Gurgaon.
We hereby wish to to lodge our formal protest at the gross and inhumane treatment being meted out to the workers belonging especially to the Manesar plant of the MSIL.
We consider the action of both the government and the mangement to be grossly dispproportionate and illegal with regard to the legal strike action being taken by the MSIL employees. We consider the action of the government and the mangement is not only violating Indian law but also an attack against the gains made by the Indian labour movement since independence.
We therefore demand:
- All the 120 employees, suspended or sacked, to be immediately reinstated without any conditions attached.
- Immediate withdrawal of false charges and allegations against the workers by both the government and management.
- All the 1,200 contract employees to immediately taken back and made permanent
- Withdraw the illegal ’good conduct bond’
- Restoration of the transport services, basic services like canteen, water supply and access to toilet
- Immediate withdrawal of the police force
- Stop illegal harassment and intimidation of workers by the company
- Recognise the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) as the sole representative of the workers
Maruti Suzuki Employees’ Union (MSEU), Manesar Plant, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) Gurgaon (Haryana) India
Dear comrades in struggle,
We are writing to you to express our full support and solidarity for your determined struggle and protest against the brutal exploitation and oppression at the hands of the Suzuki management and the Haryana government.
We are shocked at the way the Haryana government and the Labour Department, hand in glove with the Suzuki management, are using all means necessary to break the struggle that you are waging to defend your rights as workers.
We support all your basic demands, i.e. Reinstatement of all sacked or suspended employees without any conditions; all the 1,200 contract employees to be taken back and made permanent; restoration of transport services and basic facilities; withdrawal of the illegal ’good conduct bond’; withdrawal of all police forces; an end to harassment; the withdrawal of false charges against the workers; the right to unionise, the right to strike and the strict implementing of the labour laws of the land.
We consider the action of both the government and the mangement to be grossly dispproportionate and illegal with regard to the legal strike action being taken by the MSIL employees. We consider the action of the government and the mangement is not only violating Indian law but also an attack against the gains made by the Indian labour movement since independence was won from British colonialism.
We feel that neither the management nor the state has reason to arbitarily declare any strike action by the workers illegal and use such a declaration to illegally suspend or sack workers.
We condemn the management’s intimidation of trade union activists and their forcing them to sign a "good conduct bond" in return for reinstating them at work.
We recognise that the strike of the Maruti Suzuki Workers is a significant development for the working class of India as a whole. We anticipate that this strike could be the beginnings of a new upsurge of struggle that will develop further at an all-India level. We will be campaigning for solidarity and support among trade unions and political organisations for the Maruthi Suzuki workers’ struggle.
We would be glad to give any political or practical assistance that could take your struggle forward.
Yours in Solidarity,
[Name, position, name of union or organiation, name of country]