Collection of Quotes from the Front-Line

“When we went home finally after a long stint occupying the factory, we saw how fast the world is changing on television, there are hundreds and thousands of people like us, working people, young people, out on the streets, occupying so many cities, New York, London, Rome…, we realized that we are not alone…that makes us feel very happy…that is why you see so many of us smiling here…we are angry, but we are not beaten, we are out here, and we will not give in now easily…the whole world is watching the whole world.”
(Maruti worker after the end of the second occupation)

“Indisciplined workers inside the plant can cause an even greater loss'”
(Maruti Suzuki chairman R.C. Bhargava, after decision for ‘lock-out’)

“But we are not donkeys. We cannot work like slaves. The problem is the immense pressure. They are extracting the work of 5,000 from half that number. We cannot go to the washroom during any other time, and in case we do, we have to give an unconditional apology letter. We are giving our best to the company, but what are we getting in turn? The production capacity of Maruti has gone up from 10 lakh units to 12.7 lakh units in during the last two years, but our salary has not gone up at all. Where is the incentive for hard work?”
(Maruti worker)

“A process of healing had to begin, and it was clear from the amount of feedback we received from that exercise that we had been somewhat cut off from how they [the workers] were feeling.”
(Maruti official after the first occupation and the decision to engage Brahmakumaris spiritual organisation for ‘re-conciliation’)

“My wife and I talked it over. We decided we’re young enough to fight this. What do we have to lose? If we win, we don’t have to be slaves any anymore. If we lose, I’ll find work somewhere else.”
(Maruti worker on strike after second occupation)

“Global investors are watching this very closely. India’s low-cost manufacturing growth story is built upon labour stability.”
(Stock-market trader SMC Global Securities)

“We would not call it a strike as there is no labour union at Munjal Showa. It is a fallout of whatever is happening at Maruti’s plant. The protesting workers from Maruti’s plant joined people here at our plant last evening.”
(C.M. Midha, general manager at Munjal Showa after wildcat strike at his factory)

“These hands have worked so hard that had I put them to use in my family farm in Hisar, my folks would have been very happy. We have delivered 2 lakh cars when the management wanted it, working overtime and breathlessly and we have been taken for granted.” Asked why he does not go back home to work on his farm, he shoots back: “I wanted to be something else.”
(Maruti worker)

“We are on strike in support of the Manesar workers. Once they are issues are resolved then we will raise our demands. Our workers are paid less than what the company pays the Manesar workers. We want the same pay for all workers.”
(Powertrain Union official, 21st of October)

“When you look at this entire situation, then we admit that there is a need for us to bring in adaptability in a young population that is very, very young. I think definitely, it must be somewhere more from the side of the young inexperienced workers and I think it is typically a question of capability to adjust and adapt and have some respect for law”
(Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Managing Executive Officer, after the start of the second occupation)

“Once a problem starts, it does not just go away.”
(Maruti chairman R.C. Bhargava after the ‘lock-out’ started)