Mr. Kumar said the violence at the plant was orchestrated by the bouncers who were also responsible for the fire in which a manager lost his life. Alleging that the working condition at the plant violated labour laws, he said the bulk of workers were employed on contract and were paid less than what paid to permanent workers.
“The management used money power and got the media to wrongly portray us as criminals and killers without knowing the reality. Nobody highlighted that bouncers in the labour uniform were introduced in the factory in order to unleash the violence. Sacked by the management and hounded by the police and management goons at present we are all alone,” said another worker.
Atul Sood, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, pointed out that in spite of the fact that strikes and lock-outs were maximum in Gujarat in 2010-11, the State was a preferred destination for corporate houses because it was very authoritarian and backs the exploitative managements to the hilt.
Pointing out that the workers of the Maruti factory firmly believed that the July 18 incident was a conspiracy to finish off the union, Rakhi Sehgal of the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) alleged that the incident is being investigated by those police officers whose role is already suspect during the violence at the plant.
All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) president S. Kumaraswamy said violent incidents like the one at Manesar plant were bound to happen as long as industrial democracy was suppressed. “Industrial terrorism is being unleashed on the working class by the nexus of corporate management, State agencies like police and ex-Army personnel. Just as corporate plunder was being encouraged as shown in the coal, 2G and mining scams, capital backed by the State is also focusing on maximum extraction of profit by maximizing exploitation of workers. It has resulted in 21st Century technology with 19th Century labour conditions.”
Calling for a unity of struggles of workers on the factory floor with struggles of Adivasis and workers all over the country, labour historian Prabhu Mahapatra said the struggle of Maruti workers at Manesar plant represented their realization that the fate of permanent and contract workers were linked. Hence the struggle must be united. “There had been a turning point in production relations since 2000, whereby the permanent workers too were facing depression of wages.”
The convention, which was jointly organised by AICCTU and All India Students’ Union, demanded an independent judicial enquiry into the July 18 incident of violence at the Manesar plant, release and reinstatement of all the workers and immediate withdrawal of police and paramilitary forces from industrial areas in Gurgaon-Manesar.
The resolution adopted by the convention also demanded that the Haryana Government and the Union Government be held responsible for upholding labour laws and industrial democracy and amendment of the Trade Union Act 1926 to make registration of the majority union mandatory.