Listening to locked out Honda workers

21.03.16 5 pm. Ravindra Kalakshetra. Bengaluru.

Satish Kumar, one of the 4000+ locked out workers at the Honda factory in Alwar Rajasthan, was in Bengaluru to meet with civil society members, groups, orgs to see what kind of support may be available for them as they continue their struggle into their second month. What started off as a demand for a union has ended with all workers being locked out, salaries for the last month unpaid and police cases under section 307 IPC (Attempt to murder). They are looking for:

  1. Simultaneous protests in various parts of the country when they do manage to take out a protest.
  2. Financial support as they are finding it difficult with the added burden of paying lawyers. Will update this post as soon as I have information about how financial support can be sent to them.
  3. Media coverage.

A lot of the issues that Satish Kumar spoke about are issues which we saw at the Maruti Udyog struggle which still continues. He is expected to be at Town Hall tomorrow at 5.30 pm joining the protest against the horrific violence that has been unleashed against the students of UoH.

Adding the brief in the invitation email:

As you may all are aware, more about 4000 workers at the Honda Plant in Tappukhera (Alwar, Rajasthan) have been locked out of their plant for more than a month. The workers have been facing police violence and strong arm -tactics by Honda management in the past 1 month. they have been brutally beaten up, had false charges filed against them and the labour department and Rajasthan Government are unwilling to intervene in the matter.  All this because the workers wanted to register their own union, to address the severly exploitative practices in the plant (details below) ! Forget recognising the union, the government is even refusing to register the union, a simple two week procedure!

Four of the worker-comrades – Sathish Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Sunil Kumar and Sudhir from the (newly formed but to be registered) union – ‘Honda Motorcycle and Scooter 2F Kaamgar Union  are here in Bangalore to speak to people here and solicit support. In order to listen to them and explore what support can be provided, we are calling for a meeting on –

Monday, 21 March
At 4.45pm at Samsa Bayalu Mandira
(behind Ravindra Kalakshetra, on JC Road)

Please do attend the meeting. This issue is not just about this Honda plant but Honda plants in Karnataka and elsewhere. Similarly this situation is there in several plants along the DElhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor region.

Please also see attached photos for more details.
More details on the issue from Sanhati
http://sanhati.com/articles/16268/

Trouble started on Feb 16th, when a supervisor physically attacked and verbal abused a contract worker in the Paint shop for refusal to work overtime. This contract worker was ill because of having continuously worked over-time for last few days, but was still being forced to work over-time today, and when he protested, the supervisor caught hold of his throat and physically attacked him. This was a regular instance of normal repressive control that the management deploys inside the factory but today the workers had had enough. The collective rage of the workers erupted as the HMSI management along with the labour department tried to scuttle their year-long struggle for Right to Union formation by suspending and terminating Union leaders. – See more at: http://sanhati.com/articles/16268/#sthash.r7brgFyF.dpuf

to quote from Youth Ki Awaaz –
http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2016/03/tapukara-honda-plant-workers-protest-police-brutality/

As also reported in The Hindu’s business pages, police were called in by the management of HMSI Tapukara plant on February 16 following a strike by workers. The police proceeded to inflict “grievous bodily injuries” on the striking workers. Hundreds of workers were arrested following this although some were released. The strike was the immediate result of the physical assault, the WSC report claims, on an ill worker who refused to work ‘overtime’, by a Supervisor. Following this attack, 2000 workers stopped production and gathered to demand action against the Supervisor as well as the reinstatement of nine permanent workers and of 400 contract workers turned out of their jobs recently. This was met with police brutality.

Moreover, non-bailable warrants have been issued against 42 unnamed persons, which has reportedly forced many workers to go underground. Thirty-nine of the 44 workers who were jailed got bail from the Jaipur High Court on the 1st of March but were required to produce “two jamanati (guarantors) each, and a minimum bond of Rs. 1 lakh each,” the WSC report says. Suspension letters have also been served to 100 of the 466 permanent workers between 2nd to 5th March, according to the report.

Tehelka Link – http://www.tehelka.com/2016/03/no-one-stands-with-honda-workers/?singlepage=1

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