Update and a Statement issued by the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union
Following the recent violence at a Suzuki plant in India - between the workers, the bosses, and their hired thugs - the workers union have released a statement outlining their version of events. At least one person died during the violence, and many others hospitalised. The Indian government have now stationed a battalion of the state police in Maruti to keep the peace.
The government deny that events happened as described by the workers. They are blaming the situation on Maoist insurgents.
Statement issued by the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union
We have had a long tough struggle with the strong unity of our permanent and contract workers to establish and register our Union last year, and had recently as of April 2012 submitted our Charter of Demands to the management of Maruti Suzuki, and the process of negotiation for wages and other demands was underway. However the management has done its utmost to derail the process and break the back of the spirit of unity of the workers and the legitimacy of the Union.
As part of this vindictive attitude and in a pre-planned manner, yesterday, the afternoon of 18 th July, a supervisor in the shop floor abused and made casteist comments against a dalit worker of the permanent category, which was legitimately protested by the worker.
Instead of taking action against the said supervisor, the management immediately suspended the worker concerned without any investigation as was demanded by the workers. When the workers along with Union representatives went to meet the HR to demand against the supervisor and revoke the unjust suspension of the worker, the HR officials flatly refused to hear our arguments, and it was in no mood to resolve the issue amicably.
When the negotiation was going on with the leaders of the Union inside the office, the management called in the entry of hundreds of bouncers on its payroll to attack the workers.
This is completely an illegal vindictive action in the spirit of conspiracy to corner us into submission even as our demands and methods are legitimate. The gates were closed by the security on behest of the management and the bouncers brutally attacked the workers with sharp weapons and arms.
They, joined by some of the managerial staff and police later, beat up a number of workers who have had to be hospitalised with serious injuries. The bouncers, who are anti-social elements on hire, also destroyed company property and set fire to a portion of the factory. The gates were later opened to oust the workers and enforce a lockout by the company.
We have the workers and the company’s welfare in mind and have worked towards it after the resolution of the dispute last year, and to blame the current violence on us is unjust. We are still keen to dialogue with the company and want to sit with the company management and the government labour department to amicably resolve the matter and restore industrial peace in the factory.
President, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU)