ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Forging Solidarity

Why do the Maruti Suzuki workers of Manesar (Haryana) deserve mass solidarity and support?

All the leaders and many of the active members of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU), 148 of them, who were arbitrarily held responsible for the 18 July 2012 violent incident in the Manesar works of Maruti Suzuki India, are in jail since August of that year. Some 2,346 workers – contract, temporary and regular – have been thrown out of their jobs without a proper inquiry. The MSWU has been forcibly removed from the Manesar factory. The Congress Party-led Haryana government has been extending full support to the management of Maruti Suzuki India in its drive to crush the MSWU. The laid-off workers and their families have faced severe police harassment. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has refused the jailed workers bail saying that “foreign investors are not likely to invest ... in India out of fear of labour unrest”. And, yet, the Maruti Suzuki workers, alongside those whose services have been illegally terminated, have fought on, with a provisional working committee (PWC) now leading the union.

In the latter half of January this year, the PWC of the MSWU brought together the terminated workers and their families alongside those of the jailed workers to participate in a jan jagaran yatra against the injustice of the Maruti Suzuki management, the Congress Party-led Haryana government, the state’s labour department, the police and the courts. This foot-march against injustice covered some 300 km from Kaithal to Jind and onward to Rohtak, then to Jhajjar and Gurgaon, and onward to Delhi, forging solidarity all along the route. The PWC has been reiterating three demands, one, release of the 148 jailed workers, two, reinstatement of all the terminated workers, and, three, an impartial judicial inquiry into the violent incident of 18 July 2012 in which the Manesar factory’s human resources manager, Awanish Dev, who had helped the workers in the registration of the union, died of asphyxiation.

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