People's Democracy

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


No. 43

October 25, 2009



Lakhs of Workers Protest Goon Attack


LIFE came to complete standstill in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt in Haryana on October 20, because of complete strike by the workers of the area. Lakhs of angry workers participated in the strike, the call for which came from the Joint Campaign Committee of all the trade unions including the CITU, AITUC, HMS and also some independent unions.

These workers were protesting against the savage attack organised by the Rico management, through their paid goons, on their striking workers. This attack, which took place on October 18, claimed the life of a worker called Ajit Yadav and left about four dozen workers seriously injured.

On October 20, the striking Rico workers remained near their unit for the whole day, while the administration had deployed the police force in full strength in view of the strike announced. The entire industrial belt of Gurgaon and Manesar in Haryana observed complete strike in solidarity of the struggling Rico workers. All the big industrial units like the Honda, Rico, Soni, Bajaj and others remained closed for the whole day. Striking workers took out processions in Udyog Vihar, Honda Chowk and IMT in Manesar. All these workers, numbering about a lakh, later gathered outside the Rico factory. The administration kept calling for more and more police force from various districts as the number of striking workers in the gathering continued to rise.   

On this occasion, Satbir Singh (CITU), Anil, Raj Singh and Rajbir Chahal (AITUC), Rajkumar (president of the Rico union), advocate Rajendra Pathak, Vineet (Hero Honda union), Devi Singh (district president, Sarva Karmachari Sangh) and others addressed the gathering, giving vent to their pain over and their anger against the killing of a fellow worker. Their charge was that the police, administration and the labour department were in collusion with the Rico management, and deliberately allow the situation to deteriorate on each small demand of the workers. They regretted that the workers had to bear the loss of a comrade�s life even to get their fundamental right to form a union. Managements don�t allow workers to form a union and the administrative officials back up their anti-worker moves.    

The speakers pointed out that in Gurgaon district, employers want to foist the contract system on their workers and try every possible means to throw the latter out of job. As soon as the workers start a peaceful agitation for their rights, managements come crashing down upon them with full force. The speakers said the managements have created a tradition of dragging each and every issue, and that this is a part of their well-thought out conspiracy. The Honda episode is being repeated after five years now. The trade union leaders criticised the state government of Haryana which, despite all its preoccupations in the post-election scenario, acted promptly on a one-sided report of its labour department and took no time to declare the workers� strike illegal.

The striking workers were demanding immediate arrest of the goons who killed Ajit Yadav and also of the plotters in the Rico management, compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the deceased worker�s family and job to one family member, compensation to all the injured workers as well, withdrawal of false cases foisted against the struggling workers, ban on employment of marshals who act as a parallel force in industrial units, registration of the unions, reinstatement of the dismissed workers and negotiated settlement on the workers� charter of demands.




Earlier, through a statement, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) had deeply condoled the death of Ajit Yadav on October 18, a worker in the Rico Industries Pvt Ltd, and extended full support to the workers� strike on October 20. On the same day, a statement from the CITU�s all-India office in Delhi said Yadav fell victim to an attack launched by hired goons of the Rico management and that the company�s security guards were assisting these goons. The CITU severely condemned the savage attack on the peacefully agitating Rico workers, pointing out that the management has been ignoring their perfectly legitimate demands, throwing the union leaders out of job and thus trying to crush by force the workers� right to collective bargaining.

Apart from supporting the struggling Rico workers, the CITU extended full solidarity to the struggle for trade union rights that is continuing in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt. Here, with the full backing of the state government and with the collusion of police and administration, employers are unabashedly violating all the labour laws without any fear.

The CITU extended full support to the strike call given by the United Trade Union Council which includes all the trade unions of the region. The CITU also demanded that the state government must immediately act against those responsible for the heinous murder of an innocent worker.

The CITU also warned the central government that it too has failed to ensure implementation of various labour laws in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt. In this way, in the name of promoting investment, the centre is responsible for protecting and backing up the �jungle raj� which the employers are running here.

On the other hand, the Haryana state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) also extended support to the October 20 strike. Through a statement issued a day before, CPI(M) state secretary Inderjit Singh severely condemned the Rico management�s conspiracy of launching an attack against the workers. The party accused that the unholy collusion between the state�s labour department, police, administration and the managements of various companies was responsible for this kind of situation, and that such collusion has been possible because of the state government�s open protection to the guilty managements.

The CPI(M) made the categorical charge that the police not only knew about it when the plot was being hatched inside the Rico office of attacking the workers, but even backed it up. The party also said the state government is systematically taking leave of its job of implementing the labour laws and protecting the trade union rights.

Joining its voice to those of the trade unions and other democratic organisations, the CPI(M) demanded that the state government must give up its anti-worker stance, ensure the arrest of culprits of Ajit Yadav�s murder and their backers, immediately provide compensation to his bereaved family members as well as to the injured workers, put an end to the police repression against the workers, and take steps to evolve a solution to the workers� problems.




On October 21, the very next day of the eminently successful strike in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt, the Joint Campaign Committee of the trade unions organised a Protest Day all over Haryana. As a part of this programme, hundreds of workers including women staged a dharna (sit-in) at the deputy commissioner�s office in Gurgaon. Satbir Singh of the CITU presided over the dharna.

Ummed Singh (CITU), Anil (AITUC), Wazir Singh (AIUTUC), B S Yadav (HMS), Suresh Malik (Sarva Karmachari Sangh), Girirah Tevatia, women�s leader Usha Saroha, Chandrajit and Shyamlal (Rico union), Suresh Kumar (Sunbeam union), advocate Rajendra Pathak and other leaders addressed the protesters. All the speakers pointed out that the managements or the administration officials have not learnt any lessons from the Honda episode that took place about five years ago. They are even today instituting false cases against struggling workers and their leaders while the managements are out to dismiss the regular workers. The speakers were of the unanimous opinion that workers have no option but to forge broad-based unity and struggle hard for realisation of their genuine demands.

Through a resolution, the workers sitting in the dharna severely condemned the statement issued by the Industries Association of Gurgaon, pointing out that this statement said not a single word on the death of a worker.

The city magistrate later came to the dharna�s venue and accepted the workers� memorandum that contained the demands of all the workers in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt as well as the specific demands of Rico workers.

Central trade union organisations have called for a countrywide Protest Day on October 28, to register protest against the police-management repression against the workers in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt.