An account of the beating and repression by bosses and police of MG auto workers in Faridabad, India, 2007.
FMS no.225, March 2007
MG Export Worker
The factory located on plot 108, sector 24 produces steel and aluminium kitchen utensils and decorative pieces for export. The factory employs 67 people who receive ESI and PF (see Glossary), out of which 20 are staff (see Glossary), the rest permanent (manual) workers. Additionally 235 casual workers (see Glossary) work inside the plant, currently their number is low compared to other times. Even after two or two and a half years of constant employment for the company they remain casual workers, they do not have ESI and PF. MG Export runs two 12-hours shift, but after one day of 12-hour shift the next day you have to work during day and night. The shift would start at 8 am in the morning and end at 4:30 pm the next day. This is a 36 and a half hours shift. When it comes to working-times the company makes no difference between permanent and casual workers. You might be a permanent or a casual, the payment for overtime is only at the normal rate (although legally it should be paid double).
On Sundays the factory is made to seem closed, but actually production is on from 7 am to 3:30 pm. On Sundays workers have to keep their bicycles inside the plant. In sector 24 there are three other factories which appear to be closed at night, but MG Export uses them for night-shift. Workers are sent to night-shift from factory on plot 108 to plot 305, plot 329… In order to hide production there are all kind of legal and illegal papers. Finished products ready for export were first sent to Faridabad sector 59, now they are sent to Daadri in Uttar Pradesh.
MG Export pays the helpers 1,900 Rs per month, the operators get 2,300 Rs (see Glossary). On pay day workers and white-collar workers have to sign unofficial documents. Two or three days after having received the wage people have to sign the official register which says that the wage is according to the minimum wage defined by the Haryana government, which would be 2,485 Rs or more, according to wage category. The overtime is not even documented on the unofficial papers.
On the 15th of Febuary 2007 the chairman and managing director of MG Export were on rounds in the factory from 1 pm to 4 pm. During this time the sahib started to kick a power press worker for a minor fault. In front of all workers the sahib slapped-beat-kicked. The people who started working at 8 am on the 15th of February were supposed to work till 4:30 pm on the 16th. The press operators left the factory on the 15th of February at 8 pm. There are twelve power press machines in the factory and they all stood still from 8 pm to 9:30 pm. The management called workers from the second shift at their homes, but in the night of the 15th only three power press were running.
On the 16th of February the power press operators gathered on a nearby square instead of coming to the factory. The head foreman went there and at 9:30 am the workers were brought back in the factory. The press operators started to work. Three hours later the company called the police inside the plant. Two police men took four workers from the press shop to Mujesar police station. Two workers were sent back to the factory and the other two were told to be charged with theft… Those two police men who had come to the factory had taken twelve metal bowls to the station themselves. One of the workers who was held in the station was the worker who had been beaten by the sahib, the other one was his friend. The police threatened and scared these workers untill in the evening they made them sign their resignation from the company and the police asked the company to settle the accounts of the workers. From the final payment the police men took 500 Rs each from the workers.