Saturday, July 21, 2012

class war

India’s biggest car-maker Maruti Suzuki has shut down a plant  following labor unrest which has left one man dead and at least 40 others injured. The company said the dispute began when a shop floor employee beat up a supervisor due to "objectionable remarks" made by the supervisor. The workers' union then prevented management from taking disciplinary action and blocked managers from leaving the factory after work. Over 1,000 policemen have now been deployed at the factory and work has been suspended indefinitely.

The Manesar plant, in Haryana state, around 50 kilometers (30 miles) from New Delhi, employs 2,000 people. There was no pending union demand or dispute that triggered the event in which a senior human resource manager has been killed. But the details showed discontent and a tinderbox situation. The 'Maruti belt', as the area around Gurgaon's industrial zone is called, has seen labour disputes involving companies such as Honda Motorcycles, Ricoh and Sunbeam in the past few years, indicating a broader influence of labour militancy. Last year was bad for Maruti, as its refusal to recognise an independent trade union in June led to a 12-day strike before an uneasy truce. Another two-week strike erupted over other demands in October. The union has accused India's biggest car manufacturer of anti-worker and anti-union activities. A number of union officials were paid to resign from the company. Slowly, but surely, Maruti has started plans to open another plant in Gujarat, with the probable intent of diversifying its labour risk. The state government of Haryana has been industry-friendly irrespective of which party is in power.

“We will de-recognise this union completely,”
said S.Y. Siddiqui, Maruti’s Chief Operating Officer, in an interview on Friday. “There will be no compromise on violence.”
Union leaders elsewhere in Gurgaon say that the violence in Maruti is symptomatic of industry-wide unrest. “Today, it isn’t as if every plant in Gurgaon is violent, but no plant is totally peaceful,” said Raj Kumar, president of the Autoworkers Union at Rico Auto Industries. “The problem is that the management is unwilling to listen to workers. Today, there are no negotiations… There are only fights.”

No comments: