1) Proletarian Experiences – Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective

1) Proletarian Experiences –
Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective

*** Everything but Accidental – Report by an Omega Construction Equipment Worker and on fatal Accident at Machino Plastics Ltd. –

Accidents are a daily routine (not only) for workers in the Delhi industrial belts. Not only the factories are slaughterhouses, the way to work itself is murderous. Between January and December 2011 officially (!) 163 people were killed in road accidents on the short Gurgaon-stretch of the National Highway 8, most of them workers crossing the highway on foot…

Two Workers Killed at Machino Plastics, Manesar
21st of January 2012
At least two workers were killed and several injured when a temporary roof-structure collapsed at Machino Plastics Ltd., a supplier for Maruti India Ltd’s in IMT Manesar. “There was a huge machine setup which suddenly fell along with the pillars and roof,” investigation officer Surender Singh said. “The victims were rushed to hospital where two workers were declared dead on arrival. Situation of four workers is stated to be critical.” Those killed were identified as Bhagirath and Naresh Kumar. Bhagirath hails from Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad and Naresh from Rajasthan.

Omega Construction Equipment Worker
(FMS 2011)
A work accident in the Faridabad plant of Omega Construction Equipment nearly killed Dinesh Kumar. Although he worked for the company since 25 years as a permanent employee and despite the fact that – unlike the majority of workers in Delhi-Faridabad-Gurgaon – he had an ESI medical insurance card, the post-accident treatment by both company and medical system turned out to be a nightmare. http://www.omega.org.in/fabrication/facilities.htm

Omega Construction Equipment manufactures special machinery and heavy fabrications (hydraulic cranes, storage tanks) for the local and global large-scale industry (petrochemical, power, cement, paper, sugar, textile, steel industries). Me, Dinesh Kumar, worked at this factory (Plot 262 M, Sector 24, Faridabad) for 25 years as a permanent employee. On 15th of September 2009 I had an accident at an hydraulic press, which cut my complete face. One jaw bone was cut, I lost all teeth and my nose was cut. I spent one month in the Escorts Fortis Hospital, then 15 days in the Metro Hospital, then 10 days at the ESI Hospital – I was unconscious for the whole time, I then opened my eyes. The mouth area was stitched up, I was fed through a plastic tube inserted into my throat. I was sent to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, but then turned back to the ESI Hospital. The nose needed a plastic surgery and the mouth also another operation. I was transferred back to the Escorts Hospital, there they told my family to bring medicine, which cost about 18 to 20,000 Rs, which was not paid for by the ESI… the ESI said that everything will be provided by Escorts Hospital, “so why do you buy the medication yourself?” The doctors at Escorts Hospital later on said that they don’t know about the legal ins and outs. My brother had admitted me to the Metro Hospital, so the 56,000 Rs will have to be paid by my family. From the ESI I received 148 Rs a day from 15th September 2009 to 27th of July 2010. The expenditures were considerable… On 28th of July an ESI doctor attested that I was fit to work. I went to the factory. They sent me back and forth, told me to take my final dues and quit the job. I went to the labour department, through a trade union. There the company agreed in writing that they would take me back on duty. I worked the last three days in September and seven days in October, on pay day I asked for my wages, but the factory director swore at me and threatened me. I went back to the labour department. The company lawyer said that I should take my final dues and quit. I refused. The whole issue went to Chandigarh, to the labour court, the court date is on 1st of July 2011. Again, quite a lot of expenditures… my brother, nephew and my older daughter (my wife has just died) tell me that I should not think too much, that my mind has gone slightly bad, that I therefore should not think too much. As a consequence of the accident I am forced to a certain diet, I have to suck water through my nose regularly, my mouth and head hurts… I will have to go to the ESI medical board in order to get a compensation.

*** The Guns of Manesar and the Return of Patriarchal Corporatism: Wage Revision at Maruti Suzuki and Reports from Mars Associates and Motherson Sumi Workers –

We included a short note on the upcoming pay revision in the Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar, which has turned into a stage-show for management propaganda. According to the head of Maruti Suzuki’s human resource department, the pay revision “will help stabilize the situation not only at Maruti, but the entire industrial belt in Haryana”. He continues wisely: “Twenty years back, the profile of workers was different. Now, almost 70 per cent of our workforce is in the age group of 24-26 years. These young guns always look for improvements.” Following the note on the wage revision are two reports of ‘young guns’ employed in Maruti’s supply-chain, at Mars Associates Ltd. and Motherson Sumi Systems.

Maruti likely to revise pay structure
7th of January 2012 – Times of India
“The move will help stabilize the situation not only at Maruti, but the entire industrial belt in Haryana, which is home to several auto companies. Their pay revision is due. We have set up a committee, which would evaluate their demands and negotiate those with the company management,” said S.Y. Siddiqui, managing executive officer (human resources and administration). “The wage settlement process will begin in March and it is expected to be completed by April-May.” The company has agreed to the demand of the Manesar workers for a union, separate from those of their colleagues at the company’s Gurgaon plant. Both Gurgaon and Manesar are located in Haryana. “It’s their right to form a union and nobody can stop them from doing that,” Siddiqui said. “We are really happy for them.” Siddiqui said the company has a lot of young workers at both plants and it has understood that it needs to respect their demands. “Twenty years back, the profile of workers was different. Now, almost 70 per cent of our workforce is in the age group of 24-26 years. These young guns always look for improvements.” Siddiqui admitted that “overwork” last year triggered workers to go on strike. “There was a huge demand in the market last year, especially for models like the DZire and the Swift,” he said. “There were occasions when there was a need for extra work. There was a huge pressure on production. Better communication with the workers should have avoided these strikes.” The company will hire 365 workers in this fiscal and at least 750 in the next one, Siddiqui said. A decision on whether to delay the Gujarat plant opening will be taken at the board meeting on 23 January, he added. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd reported a 63.6 per cent drop in net profit for the quarter ended 31 December 2011 from a year earlier. Maruti will seek to increase the proportion of locally made parts to minimize the impact of currency changes. Imports currently constitute 12 per cent of net revenue and vendors import the equivalent of another 10 per cent of net revenue.

Motherson Sumi Systems Worker
(Plot 21, Sector 18, Gurgaon)
The shift officially starts at 6 am, but the company buses arrive as early as 5:30 am. Even the workers who live in Gurgaon have to get up at 4 to 4:30 am to arrive ‘on time’, the workers living in Delhi get up at 3 or 3:30 am. The various assembly lines for electrical (car) harnesses are given names of different flowers in order to distinguish them, but the workload is heavy and less flowery. In the Gurgaon factory most of the work is done for Maruti Suzuki. Because of the unrest the production at the Maruti Suzuki factory in Manesar has been low during the summer months – the ready harnesses piled up in our plant, in the packaging area, in the canteen, next to our machines.

MARS ASSOCIATES PVT. LTD. Worker
(Plot 23, Sector III, IMT Manesar)
The company employs 20 permanent workers and 80 workers hired through contractors. We work on two 12-hours shifts, manufacturing parts for Honda, Hero Honda, Maruti Suzuki. There are no days off, we work on Sundays, even on festival days. The overtime is paid at single rate. Out of the eight pressure die-casting machines four remain defunct since three months. The machines run, though they are faulty – but it is the worker who operates the faulty machine who is sworn at, sometimes beaten. Accidents are frequent, this year two workers have cut their hands. The company does not fill in accident forms, workers are sent to private hospitals, money for treatment is cut from their wages and in the end they are sacked from the job. 650 Rs are cut from wages for ESI and PF, but the workers hired through contractors receive neither card nor PF form. Mars operates another factory in D-166, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-I, Delhi.