Times of India, |Aug 18, 2012


Gurgaon: Around 4,000 workers from the Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera industrial belt gathered in the city on Friday in protest against Maruti Suzuki’s mass dismissal of over a third of its workforce, who were found to have been complicit in last month’s violence at the carmaker’s Manesar plant.


The protesters called the sacking orders ‘unconstitutional’ and said that the move was in contravention of the existing labour laws. Leaders of 16 prominent trade unions from the region, including the union at Maruti’s Gurgaon unit, were also a part of the agitation, and have unanimously demanded the reinstatement of the dismissed MSIL workers.


“Workers at the Gurgaon plant have always been with those in Manesar, who have been unfairly targeted by the police and the management,” said Kuldeep Janghu, general secretary of the Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union. He said that all the A-shift (morning shift) workers from Maruti’s Gurgaon plant were present at the protest rally.


On Thursday Maruti Suzuki India Limited had announced that it was sacking 500 of the regular workers at its Manesar plant, before the lockout was finally lifted on August 21. “The management has just drawn a list of 500 people without any basis. Where is the evidence that they were involved? They can’t all be responsible for the violence,” said Gyan Singh, an A-shift worker at MSIL’s Gurgaon plant, who is stationed on the assembly line 2.


The procession began at the Gaushala grounds in old Gurgaon late on Friday afternoon, and ended before the Mini Secretariat offices amid loud anti-government chants and slogans. “They just fired 500 of their workers. Without a notice, without a chargesheet, without an independent inquiry. And what is the labour department doing? What is the state government doing? Nothing,” said Hari Prakash, a representative who came all the way from Sonipat for the rally.


Besides an independent, high court inquiry, the union leaders are also pressing for a meeting with the state’s chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda. “We want the CM to call representatives of all the trade unions of Haryana and address these issues. It’s time they took us seriously. This is just one shift of workers here. Next time we will come with the whole workforce of Gurgaon,” a trade union leader of Haryana, screamed into a microphone, standing atop a Tata Sumo car parked in the middle of the road – a makeshift stage for the many speakers at the protest.


The memorandum addressed to the chief minister was received by Gurgaon’s deputy commissioner, P C Meena, who refused to comment on the matter.


Circulated by Liberation News service

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