Labour Laws, Trade Union

Protest against Conviction and Sentences to Maruti Suzuki Workers

Conviction and sentencing of workers of Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar, Haryana by Gurgaon Sessions Court is a serious blow to the attempts of MNC workers to organize themselves. The trial and prosecution demonstrated a clear nexus between management of MNC and police and administration. While 13 workers were convicted of murder, 18 others were convicted under different other charges. On March 18, 13 workers convicted of murder were given life imprisonment, 4 others were given 5 years’ imprisonment and rest of the period already served.

This judgment is not only miscarriage of justice, it is and meant to be a blow to the workers’ attempts to organize, a right avowedly granted by the Constitution but rarely respected in practice. Maruti management, police, administration and the state govt. has utilized the death of an officer of the company to unleash a reign of terror and crush the workers’ struggle. The attitude of the managements, police, administration and ruling parties towards the workers’ movement clearly shows their determination to crush the workers’ movement and how they utilized that incident. There is systematic attempt to deny the workers of their rights including their rights to organize. Their unions are not registered and even if they are registered, leaders and activists are routinely thrown out of job to deter the workers from such attempts.

Through these attacks, Govt. wishes to attract foreign owned MNCs by keeping the workers’ wages low. Job insecurity is a tool in achieving this and preventing workers from demanding better living and working conditions. Sharp rise in contractual labour facilitates keeping the wages low. Contract Labour (Abolition and Regulation) Act is implemented in its violation. Legal provision and judicial pronouncements on “equal work equal pay” have remained only show pieces while overwhelming majority of workers are denied it and the other legal rights in practice. The whole labour law implementation machinery is being gradually dismantled so that workers accept the dictates of the managements.

Conviction and sentencing of Maruti workers will only worsen this offensive of managements and abysmal conditions of workers. This attack needs to be exposed and opposed. Workers and democratic sections must wage a campaign to get justice for Maruti workers and to undo the grave injustice to Maruti workers and working class at large. A strong campaign must be launched to ensure that Maruti workers convicted by Sessions Court are freed.

March 18, 2017

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