“Never, in all these years of my life had it occurred to me that the courts too care only about the rich. I am now beginning to believe that God too is only a rich man’s God.” - The wife of a terminated Maruti Suzuki worker
Dear Friends and Comrades,
For the workers, 18th July has never been the defining moment of their agony. The enormous workload, the absolute denial of any paid leave and the deduction of almost 50% of the monthly salary on account of just a few days of absence are what constitute the major part of their narrative of the Maruti story. The 2,600 employed on contractual basis would add to this list the pittance they received as a salary, life under the constant threat of losing their jobs, no transportation facility and the added humiliation and harassment at the hands of the contractors. It is no wonder then that the promise of their own union, a collective which could voice these countless personal agonies that none of them could individually raise, has been so precious to the workers and even their families. More precious than any “package” that was offered to them to surrender this one right, more precious even than the job many of them had worked so hard to get, in a world where they knew that another such job would not be easy to come by having once been thrown out of a company like Maruti.
The Chandigarh High Court verdict dismissing the bail application of nine workers who have been in jail since July 2012 states, “The incident is a most unfortunate occurrence which has lowered the reputation of India in the estimation of the world. Foreign investors are not likely to invest their money in India out of fear of labour unrest.” On one hand, stand all the prospective foreign investors that India might have ever had, on the other, the entire lives of 147 innocent young men and their families. The fear of labour unrest among foreign investors that the Honourable High Court is so keen to allay is one deeply grounded in the knowledge of the brutally oppressive and exploitative work conditions prevalent across manufacturing units in the country.
Today in July, 2013, the entire past year weighs heavy on the hearts of the countless members of the workers’ families who have, every new day, been expecting relief. Not only has relief not been forthcoming but every attempt that they have made to appeal to the government has faced the threat of severe repression, precipitating finally on the 19th of May when Haryana Police contingents from six districts confronted and brutally lathi-charged workers and family members on their way to the state’s industrial minister to seek justice and to protest the arrest of 100 workers the night before from a peaceful demonstration in front of the District Commissioner’s office. Moreover, the workers and their families are now being denied any space to voice their protest, with all their appeals for permission to continue their peaceful demonstration at any given site being met with steady refusal. Manesar has been veritably turned into a militarized zone with heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces in the entire industrial area and permission being denied to any program being organized by trade unions or workers organization, extending even to as basic a freedom of expression as distributing a pamphlet. Such are the conditions, in which the workers have decided to launch afresh their attempts to be heard by our administrators and have declared a peaceful demonstration and an indefinite hunger strike in Manesar starting on 18th July, 2013. In our opinion, such a challenge to the abject denial of their democratic rights by the workers will not only lend courage to the numerous other voices lying buried under the glitzy story of mounting profits in the entire industrial area, but also to all other democratic voices in the country struggling to be heard.
The treatment being meted out to the workers of Maruti and their family is a message to the people of the entire country that no argument for justice or rights shall be considered in the face of encouraging “development” and investment at any cost. On the passing of a year since the incident which has now come to epitomize the strong hand of corporate influence over justice and democracy; in the glow of the determination of the workers to continue their struggle against the many odds that face them; sharing their spirit and courage, we appeal to you to stand in solidarity with the struggling workers of Maruti Suzuki and against the ongoing ridicule of democratic rights. Further, to create a common platform for our messages of solidarity to the workers’ ongoing struggle movement and to send a clear signal to the administration and the judiciary that the people of this country will not remain silent bystanders to the violation of all democratic rights, let us meet on July 13. Your presence and support will go a long way!
Immediately Release All Arrested Workers of Maruti!
Stop the Routine Violation of Democratic Rights!
Stop Favouring Profits over People!
Justice for Maruti Suzuki Campaign
Contact No. 9810201369, 9953175766, 8588009793