Appeal from the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union: Shiv Kumar

Appeal from the MSEU 

(Maruti Suzuki Employees Union) to All Trade Unions, Organisations and Individuals, by SHIV KUMAR, general secretary, MSEU, via Rakhi Sehgal of the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)

(Cross-posted from the Facebook group, Citizens Front in Support of Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Struggle.)

15th October 2011

We, the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU), Suzuki Powertrain India Employees Union (SPIEU) and Suzuki Motorcycle India Employees Union (SMIEU), have been on strike in our respective plants in Gurgaon-Manesar from the 7th of October, 2011, demanding our right to respectable and non-precarious employment and unionization. Our movement stands at a crucial juncture today, we therefore send this appeal to all the labouring people of the country and beyond, the trade unions and all other sections of society which have stood with us in solidarity to come forward with renewed vigour to take this movement forward.

Our struggle is not a struggle for a mere wage-hike of any one section of workers, but is a struggle for our dignity and right to organise. We struggle also more importantly for the contract workers among us, whose insecurity and precarious condition of existence is a burning issue before the entire labouring people of the country today, which puts the very framing of the available labour laws into question.

We, permanent and contract workers, have and do stand united in this struggle.

To break our unity and resolve, the management of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Manesar is continuing to indulge in anti-worker activities and increasingly harass us with the absolute complicity of the state administration. 

The management began violating the terms of the last agreement from the very next day of our calling off the 33day long agitation continuing from August 29th till a settlement was reached on the 30th September. Going back on its word of treating the workers with respect, it has on the contrary been acting with vengeance, trying to create divisions among us. On the workers reporting for duty the day after the strike, the management flatly refused to let the over 1,200 contract workers enter the factory, so as to divide the unity between permanent and contract workers that this movement has achieved. It shuffled permanent workers from their workstations so that allegations of ‘production sabotage’ could be put on us. Such a shuffling of skilled workers, accustomed to and specialized at their specific tasks is far from being conducive to optimal production in the factory. Such a move therefore makes evident that fulfilling production targets are not a priority with the management at this point. Rather the point is to break our unity and resolve to struggle. 

The already inadequate bus service was also stopped to further harass us.

Later contractors on the behest of the management used bouncers who threatened and attacked us recently in front of the factory gate on the morning of 7th Oct, this incident took a more blatant aspect when some goons came and beat us up at the factory gate on the 8th and threatened us for our lives. They even attempted to actualise their threat by coming with guns inside the Suzuki Motorcycle plant on the 9th morning and firing on our comrades there. All legal and illegal means have been used by the management to break our resolve and unity forged during the struggle in June and then again in August-September.

The state and central government is acting hand-in-glove with the management. Earlier it merely gave us empty promises after the company broke the spirit of the settlement by acting in antiworker bad faith.

Ever since we have been on strike due to circumstances created by the management, it has been issuing us show-cause notices instead of acting against the company which is habitually reneging on its promises and violating all labour laws, having turned all their instrument to implement justice to break our fight for a just cause. The number of police personnel, stationed in and out of the factory increased first to 1,500 and soon to 2,500. Having tried to push us into starvation by occupying the canteen and dismantling our set-up to cook food
for those inside the factories, yesterday 14th October the management blocked our food and water supply and locked up the toilets. Given that it had no problem in arresting our leaders last month on false charges, the attacks on some of our fellow workers and the brutal lathi-charge on the workers of Honda in 2005, we also think that brutal repressive force could be used any time on us.

With the company and the state acting together to control and oppress us, we feel the need to make a renewed appeal to all to extend and be part of our collective struggle.

Since our struggle began, all workers, various Trade Unions and other sections of society have stood strongly by us.

But now, the struggle in Maruti Suzuki has emerged as the concrete struggle of the around 8000 workers of the four plants of Suzuki group- Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., Suzuki Powertrain India Ltd., Suzuki Castings, Suzuki Motorcycle India Ltd. On 7th October, workers of another eight plants in IMT had also gone on a one day tool down strike in support.

WE, Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU), Suzuki Powertrain India Employees Union(SPIEU) and Suzuki Motorcycle India Employees Union (SMIEU) continue to sit on strike at our factory gates. Our movement has been able to achieve an unprecedented unity among permanent and contract workers, local and migrant workers and workers of all our plants forged in course of struggle by the initiative of all struggling workers; this we consider to be our greatest strength and are resolved to take this strength forward. We shall not relent until our demands are met and all workers are taken back unconditionally. No degree of sacrifice can deter us from seeing this fight to the end.

We appeal to all the workers and Trade Unions to extend concrete support in our struggle with both solidarity actions in their own factories, areas and before their own state governments and by contacting us and fighting this struggle with us. Even if a single worker sticks one poster on the wall facing an oppressive management, we consider it a concrete act of solidarity. The possibility that this strike and these solidarity actions are throwing up can lay the foundation of a new and more advanced phase of workers movement in our country, such that can compel each and every government and arrogant management to think many times before taking any antiworker measure in the future.

In face of the brutal hand twisting of the workers sitting-in on strike in the Maruti Suzuki plant, by holding food and water ransom, we are now continuing our struggle outside our respective factory gates. It has now become evident that the Haryana administration is preparing for taking brutal and violent steps to smash our movement and disperse us from here. Such an assault will not just be on us but the right of all working people and we expect that would become the beginning of unprecedented protests in all corners and among all progressive sections of the country.

United in Struggle.

Shiv Kumar

General Secretary, MSEU
on behalf of MSEU, SPIEU and SMIEU

Related Posts :

The Black Hole of Manesar: (Non) News of a Strike at Maruti-Suzuki (15.10.2011)

Strike in Maruti-Suzuki and Seven Other Factories in Manesar: The Struggle Continues (08.10.2011)

Speed and Control at Manesar: Why is the Maruti-Suzuki Management Keeping Workers Out of its Factory? (06.09.2011)

Maruti Struggle Continues Despite Repression: Statement (03.09.2011)

8 thoughts on “Appeal from the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union: Shiv Kumar”

  1. Occupy Wall Street Livestream to
    Global Revolution

    from Termite Manifesto 2011

    Wave after wave of great saints, leaders, heroes and reformers banged their heads against it : to no avail. The last crunching sound of termites from below and the last gasping breaths of religious, political and social leaderships can be easily heard


    Awesome attempts were made by series of memorable events, by dynasties and kingdoms, through wars, massacres and counter-/revolutions


    It seems, even if for a small fraction of world-history we have managed to represent and mobilise termites for some or other History-Moving Ideas, they refuse to grow out of their old gnawing habits


    As a rule, we have to keep them bombarding with our Tales and Relays about our ancient and recent enemies, otherwise their readiness to forget the great sacrifices made by our martyrs borders on traitorous behavior


    Tell them profound things: about the meaning of our Life on Earth and the meaning of Creation. We should never forget to tell who we are ? Why are we here? About our Rights and Duties. Their memories are like sieve. There is no sense of fear. Even fear of extinction of our Identity is absent. One of us has to shout into their ears before it is too late


    We have to tell them about the glorious achievements of our ancestors. We have to remind them of our mission to civilize the world. We have to tell these abominable termites, what is good for them and what is immeasurably harmful for them


    It is from the voice of the people only that Government can learn whether its projects are likely to be well received. ..the voice of the people can alone check errors in the bud, and warn us of dangers before they burst upon and destroy us…


    What is it if not wilful misinterpretation that parliaments, armies, bureaucracies, police stations, prisons, taxation-departments and judiciaries are various embodiments of permanent mistrust between their representatives and their own people ? `Demos´ has to be stopped from deserting `Kratos´


    Be careful ! They are into every system, gnawing at the root of all such structures, making them porous like a sieve and sucking all the substance away


    Our Churches, Temples and Mosques are sinking. Termites tend to forget so eagerly that they are Sons and Daughters of the Lord Almighty, that they are Hindus, Muslims or Christians, that they are bearers of a Great Tradition. That they are French, Indians, Arabs, Europeans, Japanese, White, Brown or Black.They have to be reminded of their Identity and Great Cause. If we do not undertake some great Showdown or Event among them, they do not tend to remember any other activity


  2. I welcome this appeal. However it is still a very passive type of call of action and that too so late. There is no ounce of doubt that the Maruti Suzuki management and the Haryana Government and local administration is ready to go to any extent to deny the workers their basic constitutional rights. Still after months of struggle no strong call for action has been made to the workers of automobile sector in and around the industrial belt (which employs around 10 lakh workers in the automobile sector). The workers of other factories are willing to extend support and it was reflected in the October 13 meeting when workers from so many other factories came out to extend solidarity.
    While it is good to appeal to other unions and factory workers to come out with posters and strike in their respective factories there is still no effort to put up posters and distribute leaflets in and around the factories and worker’s residential areas in Gurgaon and Manesar. Even the 2-hour tool down call scheduled for today was called off on the excuse that talks were to be held today, as if something greatly positive was expected to emerge from these talks. While the management and the government has shown since the very start that they were unwilling to yield even an inch of ground (this time the govt. has even refused to be a part of the negotiations!), the workers have delayed taking any action expecting results. The management has been using delaying tactics to demoralise the workers and the central trade unions have only helped them by their actions (or inaction!).
    Even earlier in the 4-5 month long struggle the central trade unions had not even once given a call to mobilise broad based support in the industrial belt. They hesitatingly called for two-hour tool down but kept postponing in until the workers had to settle for an agreement brokered by the central unions which gave nothing to them.
    The central trade unions do not seem to be interested in giving this struggle a mass base. Even this appeal is too little too late. Such a feeble and vague appeal comes at a time when the need of the hour was to take the struggle to an advance stage, to give a call for a forward action. Even after months of a united struggle from the workers the movement is still stuck to basic forms of protest and there is no effort to spread it widely to make it a mass movement. If the Maruti Suzuki workers have to put up a brave fight they must chalk out a plan of action and the first thing to do should be to give a general call addressing first of all the automobile sector workers of Gurgaon-Manesar belt and other workers of the region and then to automobile sector workers all over India and other workers in India and abroad. But to be able to do that the workers need to come out of the shadow of central trade unions which have a history of betraying the cause of the working class.

    Issuing an appeal for support is good, but it is not clear what is the concrete action program of the MSEU itself? So far, even the workers do not know what will be the future course of action. Unless, the MSEU has a concrete stepwise program of struggle, how can the other unions support it?

  3. Every confrontation has a peaceful solution ,going on strike and that to not once but twice show reluctance on the part of workers. They have not only caused the loss to maruti but also to Govt of India .who will own responsibility for this. Today if some one makes us work he is harassing us and that is the mentality of the workers in India. Such strikes will not be beneficial to any one. Entire Sahibabad industrial area was closed down due to CITU strikes, not even Company like Hero Company could stand it.Now these people are shutting down the Maruti.Citu cant see any industry running.

    1. The hartal culture must be done away with. The worker unions and management need to understand that they are on the same team and work towards an increased profitability. The right to protest has been taken a little too far and the results are in plain view in Bengal where industries have almost boycotted it!

      With production being stopped, customers are going away to competitors. without clients how does the worker union and management expect to earn its bread?

      1. Thank you for your comment Sriram, why not suggest to the managements of major industrial corporations that they treat their workers with dignity and respect, not spread lies about them, not subject them to daily humiliations. For instance, the production schedule at Maruti Suzuki, which is back breaking and inhuman, could be done away with, and a more humane and practical rhythm of work and amount of workload could be instituted. Managements could also make contract workers permanent, so that security of tenure could guarantee good industrial relations. All these could help. Would you consider making these suggestions to the Maruti Suzuki management?

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