People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 51

December 23, 2012





The Struggle of Maruti Workers Continues


Jai Bhagwan


HUNDREDS of agitating workers of Maruti staged a protest demonstration and dharna on December 19 in New Delhi demanding the release of arrested workers and reinstatement of dismissed workers of Maruti Manesar Plant.


Addressing the demonstration organised under the banner of Maruti-Suzuki Workers Union, CITU general secretary and MP, Tapan Sen said that the July incident was a conspiracy hatched to curb and suppress the workers agitation. Workers will have to further expand their unity, he said. The dharna was also addressed by CITU Haryana state president Satbir Singh, AITUC national secretary D L Sachdeva, and Ram Kumar, leaders of HMS, BMS, CITU leaders Pushpender Tyagi, Jai Bhagwan and other leaders.


The regressive effects of liberalisation and privatisation are clearly visible on working class right from the time when these policies were implemented. We can find numerous instances of allowing capital to play freely and giving every kind of relaxation to foreign institutional investors at the cost of our own people. The central and state governments are restructuring their policies in favour of local/foreign companies.


The Haryana government also prepared an industrial policy in the year 2006 which stated that better conditions of industrial development will be created along with better co-operation between workers and entrepreneurs. Actually, this new policy was a signal for industrialists to invest and earn profits by exploiting  labour with an assurance of no interference (from administration). In this very direction, there are instances of diluting labour laws, their open violation and if workers try to struggle for their rights then their struggles are brutally suppressed. The results of these policies were evident in several cases eg,  in Honda industries where workers’ struggles were violently suppressed; repression on  the movement of liberty shoe workers in Karnal resulting in virtually a condition of emergency for many days; the peaceful movement of Gurgaon Rico industries workers where a worker was murdered by management goons and cases were filed over union leaders; HMM bus body coach factory agitation in Ambala where around 1200 workers suffered suppression and subsequent loss of jobs; Eastern medicate industry where owner is still at large after an illegal lockout and around 1300 workers are jobless – these are various examples of the present day government policies.




It has already been mentioned, how government of Haryana has kneeled down before a Japanese company. How can one understand the phenomenon of the government itself helping an industry by hiring an advocate and paying crores in fees, while at the same time the company earns a net profit of more than Rs 2200 crores in one year. This is not just a favour for owners of Maruti but a message to foreign capital. At the same time the state government is bent upon teaching a lesson to the working class. Earlier, 655 workers were booked and 55 were particularly named under sections of murder and attempt to murder. Now in total 215 workers have been charge sheeted. Among these, 149 have been imprisoned and tortured heavily and non-bailable warrants have been issued against 66 workers. Interestingly, a major chunk of these workers were not even present at the site of incident. Police delivered notices of termination at the doorsteps of 546 workers. So in a way, Haryana police performed the duties of a postman for the company.  Police excesses reached their limits when tents of workers were uprooted who were agitating in front of district secretariat on November 7. More than 60 workers were taken in custody. There was even an attempt to get CITU state president Satbir Singh arrested. Immediately a 16 member committee of unions rushed to the spot and at the same time police sensed that discontent may spread to all industrial units in Gurgaon. Consequently, due to this very fear, police released workers. This happened despite the fact that the names of these workers were not even mentioned in charge sheet produced by police.




The chain of events at Maruti plant tells us how capital tramples upon the laws framed by its own State, just for increasing the profits. There were in total 4000 workers in both the shifts engaged in production work when this incident occurred on July 18. According to the company management, the strength of permanent workers at that time was 1516. Among rest of the workers were a small section of apprentices who came for training as a part of their ITI education course and 1800 workers were casual/contract labour. This was a case of clear violation of Contract Labour (regulations and abolition) Act 1970 which states that contract labour cannot substitute permanent workers’ tasks. These (contract workers) were on a payroll of less than half of permanent workers although they both performed equal tasks. This is clearly a violation of ‘equal work-equal wage’ principle. Why is it so? Workers in Manesar had to struggle for months to form a union of their own choice. Maruti management forced workers to sign a good conduct bond in an illegal manner. Labour minister himself, in parliament, termed this rash practice of Maruti as unfair according to Industrial Disputes Act 1947. Official file for union registration got considered after long struggle only on the pre-condition that it would not be affiliated with any of the central trade unions. Situation in other industries is not much different. 




In the meanwhile demonstrations have been staged before peoples’ representatives of Haryana. A demonstration was held in front of the residence of industrial minister Randeep Singh Surjewala on October 12 and he had to discuss the issue with worker representatives. Hundreds of activists from various organisations, CITU, Sarva Karmchari Sangh and family members of workers took part in this event. Another demonstration took place at the residence of power and irrigations minister Capt. Ajay Yadav on October 19. He also discussed the issue for two hours. On October 30, a protest was organised and Gurgaon (Rural) MLA, Rao Dharmpal discussed the issue at the spot. Thousand of agitators reached the residence of Gurgaon MLA and minister, Sukhbir Kataria. He had to accept the demand charter of workers and assured that he would arrange a meeting with the CM.


A voice is getting built up resisting the venomous campaign against workers. An appeal has also been released by Maruti Workers union for common masses which is being distributed in thousands.