About Gurgaon

About Gurgaon

A short description of the town of Gurgaon near New Delhi in India.

Gurgaon is a satellite town in the south of Delhi, situated in the state of Haryana, with about 2,200,000 inhabitants. Haryana was one of the Indian states where the impact of the Green Revolution (`industrialisation of agricultural production´) was most severe. On the background of the agricultural changes, industrialisation in Gurgaon started in the early 1980s with the opening of the Maruti car plant. During the last decade Gurgaon became an industrial hub characterised by the automobile sector, by the textile industries, by call centres and increasingly by biotech, agro and pharmaceutical industries. The state and private development companies such as DLF enforce the political and infrastructural frame-work for the rapid development. Additional to the already existing textile, automobile and IT parks a new Special Economic Zone is in the making, allegedly comprising 200,000 future jobs. The investment flowing towards the industries in Gurgaon also let to a Dubai-isation of the area, the real estate and land prices rocketed, speculative capital mushrooms in form of shopping-malls and architectural arrogance. The development pulled in thousands of migrant workers from all over India, seeking jobs in the various industries, being it as contract workers in the textile mills and factories or as agents for the call centre jobs. The main companies of the automobile sector are Maruti Suzuki (cars), Hero Honda (scooters) and Honda Motor Cycle and Scooter India (HMSI). Attached to them are various multi-national suppliers, like Delphi, Bosch and other, mainly Japanese companies. Most of the metal sheet and second and third-tier supplying work is done in work-shops in Faridabad, an industrial town situated about 70 km in the west of Gurgaon.The main work-force in this industry are contract workers who often have their main base in villages at the borders of Haryana. The policy to recruit mainly non-local workers has been used as a strategy to undermine workers` power in case of unrest. The textile sector is export orientated. There are various major export companies, such as Orient Craft, which have several factories in and around Gurgaon. They heavily rely on contract work, as well.According to the chief minister of Haryana Gurgaon is the biggest call centre hub in India and therefore in the world. Fact is that about 150,000 to 200,000 young people work in call centres, phoning mainly for US and UK based companies, such as American Express, Citibank, Dell, IBM. The call centres are often located right next to car or textile plants, which might have an impact on future workers` struggles. In terms of workers` struggles Gurgaon became known when police attacked a demonstration of Honda (HMSI) workers in July 2005. Previous to that there have been various conflicts at Maruti, mainly in consequence of the company trying to down-size the number of permanent workers. Since 2006 it were first of all contract workers who took the initiative of struggles, often without being represented by an official union. After the experience of the lock-out and brutal repression at HMSI, most of the subsequent struggles have been short wildcat actions combined with factory occupations. In May 2006, immediately after a five day occupation at Hero Honda by 3,000 contract workers, tools were laid down in the supplying plant of Shivam Autotech. Since than there have been similar situations at HMSI and Delphi. For further up-dates on the situation in Gurgaon see the monthly newsletters of Gurgaon Workers News.

Posted By

Feb 9 2010 14:56


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Feb 23 2010 20:48

Does anyone know who publishes 'Gurgaon Workers News'?

Feb 25 2010 21:12

I do, it's some local workers, with involvement from some of the people who did Prol-Position, and are in close contact with people in kamunist kranti who do the Faridabad workers newspaper FMS

Feb 26 2010 11:38

OK thanks, the reason that I asked was that I was in Gurgaon and Faridabad for some meetings last week. I remember the 'Kamunist Kranti' group being in the environs of the communist left, more specifically the IBRP, a long time ago. I googled them and came up with an article of Wiki written by 'Khawaga' (our very own I presume). It has what to me seem like some very strange ideas:

Khawaga wrote:
View on Strikes

Kamunist Kranti argues that large and open conflicts are an obstacle to the working class, e.g. they claim strikes have for decades been used as a weapon against the working class, not the opposite as is most often claimed. Against management work stoppage, be it on the level of a factory or larger, is not anymore a powerful weapon for the working class. On the contrary, management's lockout and management strikes are effective as means for attacking wage workers. The last 20 years has not seen a single strike, anywhere in the world, that has not resulted in wage reductions, retrenchments, work intensification or factory closures [1]

Kamunist Kranti argues that strikes in India is a weapon in the hands of capital and management rather than the working class. If management wants to achieve e.g. wage cuts, layoffs or automation they provoke a strike or collude with the offical unions to start one. The 18-month 1981-83 Bombay textile strike of 250.000 workers, which lead to dozens of closures and massive layoffs, was a management provocation from start to finish according to Kamunist Kranti.[2]

The group claims that a large masses of people - e.g. a strike or a demonstration/protest - seem like they are active, but that it is its representatives and leaders that do the thinking, makes decisions and give orders to the masses. Leaders call the protests, mass meetings are sites for struggles between trade union- and other leaders. All of this is an obstacle for real self-activity. Large spectacular confrontations are also easier targets for the state and management to control through the trade union hierarchy, or if necessary to be suppressed by violence.



Feb 26 2010 12:26

Yeah I remember reading that awhile back and thinking 'conspiracy theory'.

Feb 26 2010 17:47

saying "anywhere in the world" in the past 20 years is pretty ridiculous. However, Gurgaon workers news has covered some strikes of permanent workers which have been used to then lock out everyone and sack them - instead it has pointed to examples of factory occupations by the whole workforce, including agency workers as being more successful.

Mike Harman
Feb 26 2010 18:19

This comes to mind as well http://libcom.org/news/article.php/tea-garden-lockout-180206

It's a mistake to generalise from that to every strike everywhere in the world, but if that's a generalised tactic in India then I can see how groups might be wary of strikes if they're easily converted to lockouts and won by employers. Same as in the UK we're wary of one day strikes which never get followed through, whereas a work to rule or some other tactic might be more effective depending on circumstances. Although I've not read much if anything by Kamunist Kranti so only have the passage Devrim quoted from wikipedia.

If that's accurate though, then it seems like an occupation would be a "large and open confrontation" too no? So wouldn't they be opposed to that as well?

There is some stuff here anyway: http://libcom.org/tags/kamunist-kranti so I at least should catch up on some of that before guessing any more.

Feb 27 2010 04:54

I wrote that wikipedia stuff, or, more like a rough edit of elements from "self activity" and Lauren Goldner's interview with KK (both in the library I think). I started that article ages ago and never finished it (as you can see from the URL it's part of my user page where I used to keep articles that I hadn't finished). Part of the reason why I didn't finish it was that I could not find that much information about the group and I did not want to publish it to the actual wikipedia in case I was wrong (but I guess google doesn't care about that so I probably should take it down). As far as I remember, I started researching Kamunist Kranti to help me understand what influenced Kampa Tilsammans!, and there is definitively a similarity in the distrust of large scale actions and campaigns.

However, this

The last 20 years has not seen a single strike, anywhere in the world, that has not resulted in wage reductions, retrenchments, work intensification or factory closures

is based on this passage from Self Activity of Wage Workers

Kamunist Kranti wrote:
Vis-a-vis management, work stoppage at either factory or larger levels is no longer a powerful weapon of wage-workers. On the contrary, lockouts by managements and strikes by leaders are powerful instruments used to launch major attacks on wage-workers. In the last twenty years we have not come across any strikes, anywhere in the world, that have not resulted in large-scale wage cuts, retrenchments, work intensification or closures.


Steven wrote:
However, Gurgaon workers news has covered some strikes of permanent workers which have been used to then lock out everyone and sack them - instead it has pointed to examples of factory occupations by the whole workforce, including agency workers as being more successful.

I've actually seen a similar, albeit not as severe, example of this in Canada. At MacMaster university in Hamilton, teaching assistants and sessional instructors went on strike, and the university basically used it as an excuse to cut costs. I can't remember the details of how they did this, but if any one's interested I can find out (heck, I am interested so I should just ask).

I've been in touch with someone from FMS so I'll try to get them to respond to this.

Edit: I just remembered that part of the wiki article is a translation from a the Swedish site Krigsmaskinen (the Warmachine), a site that (as far as I can tell) is autonomist inspired.