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Victim of 'disguised' retrenchment? Maruti-Suzuki workers stage protest in Gurugram

By Harsh Thakor* 

On Friday on April 28th, the Maruti Suzuki Labour Union staged a vociferous procession and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Gurugram, against the continuing process of suspension and dismissal of workers by the Belsonica management.
The relatives of Belsonica, which produces component parts for Maruti Suzuki, also played an active part in this procession. Till now the management has either suspended or suspended a total of 30 workers and thrown them out of the factory.
In the meeting held after the procession, the workers and their representatives asserted that the Belsonica factory management had planned to lay off the workers in secret. Workers working for 10-15 years are being fired in the name of fake documents. Belsonica, Sunbeam, Lumax management have fired and are firing workers by calling them fake.
The speakers said that in the year 2012, similarly, the workers of Maruti Suzuki Manesar, had waged battle to obtain the right to form a union. Those workers had raised their voice against the illegal contract practice inside the Maruti factory. The Maruti management and the administration together suppressed that voice of the workers and carried out the shameful incident of July 18, 2012.
On this pretext, it dismissed 556 permanent and about 2,500 temporary labourers from their jobs. Even after 11 years of the narrated incident, the workers are persistently struggling to retrieve their jobs with the hope of justice diminishing.
The workers of Belsonica Union, women and children of their families and other unions affiliated to Maruti Suzuki Mazdoor Sangh and all the unions and labour organizations of the area participated in the demonstration.
During the ongoing settlement/ solution talks mediated by the Additional Deputy Commissioner and the Labour Officer, the management is sacking the workers by taking unrest and provocative actions by violating the orders/ instructions of the written peace and status quo of the settlement officers, a union leader said.
Currently, Belsonica management is undertaking the main production work by employing contract workers on the machines which constitutes the action of unfair labour practice in labour laws which the labor department is not doing, he added.
Speaking on behalf of Belsonica's relatives, the wife of union president Mohinder Kapoor said that the management is pervading an atmosphere of tension and instilling fear in the families by sacking the workers. The condition of the families of the dismissed workers has deteriorated considerably.
The protest in the light of the intensity with which the Belsonika management has tightened its noose around the workers suggests the unflinching resilience of the workers to battle injustice. These events are manifestation of corporate fascism whereby workers’ job rights are strangulated to the core or lives are placed in peril.
Demands of the union include all the suspended and dismissed workers of Belsonica should be re-instated immediately; disguised retrenchment utilising fake documents should be stopped; and strict legal action should be adopted against the Belsonica manager who is violating norms of proper labour Unon practice and a case should be registered.
Demands of the union include all the suspended and dismissed workers of Belsonica should be re-instated immediately
At the same time the union demands, 546 workers who were dismissed from Maruti should be taken back to work; all the bouncers and anarchic elements posted in Belsonica company should be dismissed immediately; illegal recruitment in Belsonica company should be abolished; and all collective demand letters pending in Belsonica should be resolved.

Background

For the last two years, the Belsonica workers have become victims of disguised retrenchment by the management, in the ongoing struggle against which Belsonica management has dismissed about 17 workers and suspended 13 workers.
A large number of chaotic elements and police are deployed in the Belsonica factory as bouncers. The main production work is being undertaken by recruiting a large number of contract labourers in the factory, which is illegal. The Belsonica management is openly violating the instructions of peace and status quo given during the negotiation of the Labour Officer and the Additional Deputy Commissioner.
On March 21, the Deputy Commissioner and Labour Officer asked the Belsonica management for the criteria for recruitment of permanent workers, notification documents, list of contract workers, etc., but the management has not given any details so far.
On March 30, the labour union and workers of Belsonica company, which manufactures component parts of Maruti, located in Manesar, Haryana, had downed the tool for two hours. After this, the management handed over the suspension letter to 10 workers.
On March 17, notices of suspension were also handed over to three office bearers of Belsonica Labourers Union.
On April 7, Belsonica management dismissed 3 contract workers citing fake documents. These three are the same labourers who have got the membership of the union. Keshav Kumar Singh, Saddam Hussain and Rajkumar were working in Belsonica for the last 7-8 years. Letters of dismissal their were sent to three labourers on their WhatsApp.
The union alleges that the management has made several attempts to cancel the registration of the union.
In spite of not being required in the plant, the management is continuously recruiting contract workers from 23-24 February 2023. In these recruitments, it has also recruited anti-social elements and bouncers, allege union leaders, underlining, till date these anti-social elements and bouncers have not been removed from the company premises in spite of several complaints by the workers.
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*Freelance journalist who has covered mass movements. Source of information: Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra

Comments

Sujata Madhok said…
Thanks for covering this story about workers asserting their right to unionise and demand regular employment instead of exploitative and insecure contract work. We should all support such struggles.

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