A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol.15 No.32 31 JUL - 6 AUG 2012
Uphold Labour Laws and Ensure Industrial Democracy
What, after all, accounts for repeated instances of such violent clashes across the country, in most of India's industrial belts? At Maruti, as at Pricol, and in fact in all industries and MNCs in India, workers are forced to wage long, frustrating struggles simply to avail of the rights which are written into India's labour laws. These include the right to form a union of their own choice and the principle of 'equal pay for equal work' which mandates that contract workers, paid far less than permanent workers, cannot be employed in the core production processes of industry. Inevitably, in every instance, workers leading the peaceful struggles are laid off; the government and labour departments do nothing to uphold the labour laws; hired muscle is used to 'discipline' workers; illegal lockouts are resorted to; and even when legal battles are won, the laws are rarely implemented on the ground. Maruti workers too have time and again led peaceful agitations demanding the right to unionise. On the last occasion, the leaders of the struggle were bought off by the management. Eventually, the union (MSWU) was registered in March this year with the labour department after much delay. However, even now, the Maruti management, in violation of the law, insists that the Union cannot be affiliated to any central Trade Union, and the Haryana Government has failed to set up the legally mandated grievance redressal committee and labour welfare committee. Wages continued to be low, arbitrary penalties like loss of wages in case of leave were common; contract workers were being paid a fraction of what permanent workers received, for the same work; work conditions were being made more undignified and exploitative (for instance curtailment of tea and toilet breaks) in order to speed up the assembly line production. Permanent workers were repeatedly told that they had no right to raise the issue of contract workers' rights and violation of the provisions of the Contract Labour Act. Throughout, the Haryana Government and labour department condoned the violations by the Maruti management, and failed to act to defend the legal rights of workers. In a situation where the system stubbornly refuses to uphold labour laws and allows open violations to be the norm; where avenues for redressal of grievances are denied and union's functioning curbed; and where managements routinely introduce hired muscle, victimization, and corrupt means to deal with protesting workers, outbursts and clashes are inevitable.
Branding the workers as criminals while refusing to acknowledge or the correct the widespread violations of labour laws and denial of industrial dignity and democracy can only aggravate industrial unrest, never resolve it. Instead of correcting the widespread violations of labour laws, the corporate sector and Governments too are using the Maruti incident as a pretext to clamour for 'reform' of labour laws. In other words, they are seeking the legalization of the ongoing violations – and the freedom to exploit the workers without any legal impediment.
The ray of hope in the dismal situation is the determination of the new generation of workers all over the country to agitate and defend their rights. In Pricol, the workers braved the all-out witch-hunt of 2009 to eventually emerge victorious and secure an agreement on their long-pending demands. It is encouraging that the workers of Pricol in Coimbatore and Honda in Gurgaon have staged demonstrations recently in solidarity with Maruti workers. India's working class and trade union movement must resist the attempts to criminalise the Maruti workers' struggle, and must continue and intensify the struggle for industrial democracy, equal pay for equal work, and workers' rights and dignity.
Charu Bhawan Inaugurated and Book on CM Released
On 28 July 2012, the 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of CPI(ML)'s founding General Secretary and leader of the historic Naxalbari movement, Comrade Charu Mazumdar, the CPI(ML) inaugurated its Central Office 'Charu Bhawan,' and unveiled a bust of Comrade Charu Mazumdar at the office. A book in memory of Comrade Charu Mazumdar, Charu Mazumdar: The Man and His Legacy was released on the occasion.
Cultural groups Hirawal from Patna and Ganasanskritik Parishad from Kolkata presented 'Shaheed Geet' (songs in memory of the martyrs). A condolence resolution was adopted, paying tribute to the martyred and departed comrades of the party's 1st Central Committee (elected in 1970), including Comrades Charu Mazumdar, Saroj Dutt, Sushital Roy Choudhary, Kanu Sanyal, Nagbhushan Patnaik, Appu, Vempatapu Satyanarayana, Adibatla Kailasam, Appalasuri, Shiv Kumar Mishra, and Soren Bose; martyrs of the first generation of the ML movement including Comrades Panchadi Krishnamoorthy, Panchadi Nirmala, Subbarao Panigrahi, Master Jagdish, Rameshwar Ahir, Baba Bhuja Singh, Daya Singh; party General Secretaries Comrade Jauhar (martyred in 1975) and Comrade Vinod Mishra (passed away in 1998); martyred and departed Central Committee members including Comrades Ram Naresh Ram and Mahendra Singh, and other martyred comrades from different fronts. Observing two minutes' silence, the gathering resolved to pay tribute to the departed and martyred comrades of the entire Indian communist movement and ML movement, and to carry forward their legacy of struggle and make their dreams a reality.
Martyrs' Day Observed All Over the Country
CPI(ML) Statement on Riots in Assam
(Excerpts from a Statement issued in Delhi on 27 July 2012, endorsed by a number of concerned organizations and individuals)
28 July Martyrs' Day:
R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org