10th March 2019 marks the second anniversary of the grossly unjust judgment by the Sessions Court, Gurgaon against workers of the Maruti plant in Manesar. On 10th March 2017, the Sessions Court sentenced 13 workers to life imprisonment. These workers constituted the entire Union body of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union. The Union had been leading the resistance against contractualization, brutal working conditions and for Union formation. 117 workers were acquitted at the trial, but they had already spent 3 years in Gurgaon Central Jail since July 2012.
This verdict was delivered without any basis. The workers were charged with the death of the HR manager, while the plant was already in the hands of a private security force. It is suspected that this security force instigated the violence in order to frame the workers; there was no evidence that the workers had anything to do with it. The Haryana government collaborated with Maruti Suzuki to ensure that the workers’ union was finished off.
Such blatantly anti-worker attacks of the bourgeoisie have been intensifying.
The continuing jail term of 18 workers of Daikin AC factory in Neemrana Rajasthan since the all-India workers strike in 8-9 January 2019 is another example. The workers were fighting against contractualization. The attack on workers included jailing of the President of the Daikin AC Mazdoor Union. Similarly, two workers of Pricol Pvt Ltd, an auto company in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, are on life sentence since 2015 and four workers of Graziano Trasmissioni in Noida are in jail for life as per an August 2017 judgment.
The focus of bourgeois governments, whether Congress or BJP, has been to raise the country’s score in the world-wide “ease of business” ranking so that India is perceived by international finance capital as a “safe market” for investments. The biggest corporations actively prevent union formation and registration and are pushing ahead with contractualisation; where the workers persist in their struggle. The managements and concerned state governments stop at nothing to organize violence, to blame it on the workers and to get the courts to deliver the most vindictive verdicts against the leaders and activists of the union.
However, none of this has broken the spirit of the militant workers. In the Maruti, Pricol and other cases too, the workers have collectively assisted the families of the jailed workers. Maruti workers at the Manesar plant have continued to lend their support to the imprisoned workers – financially, emotionally and morally.