People's Democracy

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


No. 43

October 23, 2011




Ugly Face of Globalisation Bared


Dipankar Mukherjee


THE struggle of Suzuki workers continues despite relentless repressive and coercive measures of the management and the state government. Apart from the repression and coercion, more than 8000 workers in Maruti Suzuki, Suzuki Power Train, Suzuki Motorcycle and Suzuki Castings, are being subjected to a vicious misinformation campaign by the management and the corporate media in order to mislead them and the people in general.


Buoyed by union minister Salman Khurshid’s statement that investors should be allowed to get away with violating laws of the land for the sake of sacred investment, there is an orchestrated howl about the adverse impact of industrial unrest on ‘investment environment’. Is labour law violation a pre-requisite for getting and retaining investment? Obviously not, provided the government has some political will to protect labour, as is amply illustrated below.


Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC), a Fortune 500 giant, is Japan’s largest diversified chemical company. It is among the top 10 chemical companies of the world. MCC has its operations in around 50 countries and leads about 282 affiliate companies across the globe. Seeing the vast growth potential for polyester products in the country, MCC decided to set up its own PTA manufacturing facility in Haldia in 1997. It entered into a shareholders’ agreement with the government of West Bengal, setting up an affiliate company, MCC PTA India Corp. Private Limited (MCPI), headquartered in Kolkata.


With an initial investment of Rs 1475 crore (US$380 million at the then prevailing rate), MCPI emerged as Japan’s largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India and began construction of a 350,000 tonne PTA plant at Haldia, West Bengal. Completed on schedule by the end of 1999, the plant commenced commercial production of PTA in April 2000, equipped with the highest safety and environment standards. Consistently achieving over 100 per cent capacity utilisation year after year, MCPI enhanced its capacity to 470,000 tonnes in December 2003. Today, it has a turnover of around Rs 1956 crore (US$440 million) (2010-2011 fiscal).


With the growing demand for polyester products, MCPI decided to go for an expansion project in 2006. Construction work of an 800,000 tonne PTA plant at an investment amount of around Rs 1962 crore (US$400 million) is now complete and has gone for commercial production in March, 2010. This has been built with the latest proprietary PTA technology of MCC.




Let the Maruti Suzuki and Haryana government note the following glaring differences between MCPI and Suzuki units:


·        There are two permanent workers unions in MCPI. One is affiliated to CITU and other one with INTTUC. Similarly, there are two contract worker’s unions.

·        There is no provision of ‘Good Conduct Bond’ in the Standing Order.

·        There are 28 major misconducts stipulated in the Standing Order, in line with Industrial Employment (Standing Orders Act, 1946). This is unlike the fudged Standing Order of Maruti Suzuki, Manesar, certified by the Haryana government, which has 103 causes of major misconducts among which include proper grooming, duration in toilets etc.

·        There has been hardly any case of production loss due to industrial unrest in MCPI. What is the demarcating factor? Neither the quantum of investment nor the colour of the union. While the Haryana government actively collaborated with the management  of Maruti Suzuki to impose an illegal Standing Order -- based on which vindictive anti-labour actions are being taken against the workers -- the then Left Front government in West Bengal ensured that labour laws of the land are protected.




There is another misinformation campaign regarding the wages being paid to the workers. The 970 permanent workers are getting around Rs 14,000 to Rs 15,000 per month; the 1100 contractor workers Rs 235 per day; and the nearly 300 apprentices and trainees roughly Rs 4000 per month. Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki, calls it “good salary”. What about those who are working in Suzuki plants in Japan? As per our information:


·        The composition of workforce in the Suzuki plants in Japan, is largely regular. Currently, 81.03 per cent of Suzuki employees in Japan are regular workers.


·        Wage-structure and average wages for regular workers is as  follows:


As per the ministry of finance, government of Japan, the average wages and work experience in major car-manufacturing industries in Japan is as follows:


Company     Average wage (JPY)        Average Age          Duration of Service


SUZUKI      ¥ 5,289,079                     36.7                      14.3 years


TOYOTA    ¥ 7,271,090                     38.3                      15.3 years


NISSAN      ¥ 6,847,796                     42.4                      20.7 years


HONDA      ¥ 7,319,000                     43.3                      22.1 years


·        Wages paid to contract, casual/temporary workers


Several years ago, they were paid around ¥ 1,000 per hour. This standard has not been changed.


One Japanese yen is roughly 60 paise. That means a permanent Suzuki worker in Japan earns on an average Rs 2.43 lakh per month while his Indian counterpart draws only Rs 15,000. A contract/casual Suzuki worker in Japan gets Rs 4800 per day while his Indian counterpart gets a measly Rs 235 per day! Is this global parity? This is the ugly face of globalisation where capital is global but labour is not. The worker gets his due not by global parity, but by the whims and fancies of ‘Suzuki’ of ‘Bhargava’ or ‘Bhargava’ of ‘Suzuki’. This is the very same corporate “greed” against which today hundreds of thousands of people are on the streets in over 1500 cities in 82 countries across the world.


Such corporate greed and the shameless spectre of the state government of Haryana and the government of India prostrating before the dictates of Suzuki have been thoroughly exposed by the ongoing glorious struggle of 8000 workers in Maruti Suzuki, Suzuki Powertrain, Suzuki Motorcycle and Suzuki Castings.