Autofit Workers Win
Autofit Workers Union (Reg. no. 1958) got registered in June 2013 and submitted a charter of demands demanding a fairer wage settlement. The management retaliated at this 'audacity' by suspending 17 worker leaders including the whole Union body, and imposed a Good Conduct Bond. It increased repression by continuous harassment and taking back facilities. More suspensions, terminations, good conduct bonds, false criminal cases of misbehaving and stoppage of raw material entry, threats and abuses became the rule. Workers refused to sign the Good Conduct Bond, resisted the move to divide the permanent and contract workers and struck work from 8th December 2013 to effect a complete halt at production, affecting the factory production in Hero Motorcorp and other factories, continued a sit-in at the factory gate, and gave solidarity calls to workers in the region who participated in large numbers. After threats and coercion failed to deter the struggling workers, the management came down to the proposal in the tripartite negotiations on 28th January 2014 in ALC Office Gurgaon, that all contract workers and four Union body members will remain out of the factory, and only permanent workers will be retained. The Autofit Workers Union resisted the move, and continued the struggle with the demand of taking back the contract workers. On 28th January Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union’s (MSWU’s) Jan Jagaran Padayatra (15-31 January 2014) had reached Gurgaon, and people were enthused by the joint show of solidarity among workers near the ALC's office.
On 5th February 2014, the management was forced to backtrack on its insistence of terminating the services of striking contract workers, and agreed in the settlement to take back all the suspended and terminated workers, while only four permanent workers are to be taken back in one month. They also forced the management to effect a wage settlement with an increase of Rs7300 in CTC in next three years. This was possible only because all through the biting winter and wage-less nights of December and January, worker brothers sat on strike at the factory-gate, and fought tooth and nail to defend their Union rights, and to establish and retain the unity among the permanent, trainee, casual and contract workers. All workers, contract trainee and permanent were taken back and the management was forced to give in writing that ten permanent workers would be taken back on duty in a time-bound manner. More than that, it was after many years that the police had to take some action against the guilty management and file an FIR against the company’s three management officials who had sent goons to beat and seriously injure peacefully striking workers at the factory gate two days earlier in an open display of the repression that is the law in the region. This happened when Munjal Kiriu workers along with over 4000 workers of the area gheraoed the Manesar Police Station.
Maruti Suzuki Workers Union
Vol. 47, No. 3, Jul 27 - Aug 2, 2014