During clashes between workers and police outside an Indian ceramics factory, local police murder a union leader. The workers retaliate by murdering a senior company executive, and burning down several company premises.
Workers at Regency Ceramics in Yanam, India, have been in dispute with their employers for the last three weeks. Many of them are temporary workers, and are demanding that their terms and conditions are improved to the levels of those of permanent contracts.
Workers are also demanding the reinstatement of colleagues who have been suspended during the course of their dispute.
There have been protests outside the factory on a daily basis, with varying degrees of hostility between workers and the local police.
On Saturday, workers violated a court order preventing them gathering within two hundred metres of the factory. The protests turned violent, workers set company cars on fire, and clashed with the police. The Police used sticks to beat back protestors, and then opened fire when their initial attempts at dispersing them had failed.
Murali Mohan a union leader and main agitator in the dispute was attacked by the police. Has was battered with batons, and died from his injuries whilst in police custody.
Nine workers required hospital treatment due to receiving bullet wounds, all of whom are said to be in a ‘critical’ condition.
After the news of Mohan’s death reached the workers, four hundred of them stormed the house of senior company executive, K. C Chandrekhar, and beat him to death.
The company management said 400 workers entered the plant premises and damaged equipment, vehicles, computers and other assets. They also set fire to the factory and beat up staff working in the morning shift. The exact damage and loss to property was yet to be ascertained.
A Magistrate has ordered a full inquiry into the incidents, and the circumstances that preceded them.
Workers across India are demanding better pay, terms, and conditions. A national strike is planned for the 28th February.