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Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.

NTUI appeal for solidarity with Maruti workers

The Executive Council of the New Trade Union Initiative unanimously adopted a resolution at its meeting on 16-17 September 2011 in Kolkata in solidarity with the Maruti Suzuki India Limited workers in Manesar,Haryana. The New Trade Union Initiative strongly condemns Maruti-Suzuki management’s illegal,unjustified and unwarranted lockout imposed at its Manesar plant since 29 August 2011 after insisting that its workers sign a “good conduct bond” as a condition to enter the plant. Both these actions amount to gross unfair labour practices and the imposition of the “good conduct bond” by employers has been held to be an act of “force” and “coercion” by the courts. The NTUI also condemns Maruti-Suzuki management’s continuing violation of the laws of the land and failure to uphold the Indian Constitution which guarantees the right to association including forming and joining a trade union.

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Gujarat Government Legitimises Environmental rules Violation

Gujarat Government Legitimises Environmental rules Violation
Adam Hallidya, Tanvir Siddique, Ahmedabad, 20th September 2011.

Govt set to reduce buffer zone limits to 100 metres

 More comes after construction of residential complexes in Naroda and Vatav Industrial Area.
By Adam Hallidya, Tanvir Siddique, Ahmedabad, 20th September 2011.

The state government has decided to reduce the range of buffer zones around hazardous waste storage facilities in Gujarat from 500 metres to 100 metres. 

A resolution to this effect from the Urban Development (UD) department is expected in the next few days, top officials said. 

The move comes in the wake of several residential complexes having come up close to the Common 

Hazardous Waste TSDFs (Treatment Stabilisation Disposal Facilities) in the Naroda and Vatva industrial areas. 

The move assumes significance as building anything within 500 metres of these TSDFs and Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) is not allowed anywhere in the country by the Central Pollution Control Board because the industrial waste stored in these facilities may leak, causing harm to human life. 

S K Nanda, Principal Secretary, Environment and Forests (E&F) department, said, “New TSDFs and CETPs will follow the 500-metre buffer zone rule, but all the existing ones will have reduced buffer zone of 100 metres. The decision was taken because many projects have already come up (within 500 metres of these facilities) and some are in the pipeline or have been sanctioned that people have paid money for.” 

He added that borewells would, however, be strictly prohibited in the complexes that come up in the 500-metre radius of these facilities and supplied piped water. 

Nanda said a meeting was held between the E&F department, various municipal corporations and the UD department, and the minutes of that meeting have been approved. 

While Urban Development Secretary I P Gautam declined to comment, top officials said the department would soon pass a Government Resolution officially authorising the reduction of buffer zone. 

The resolution would also contain strict guidelines that green cover be maintained in the 100-metre radius to make the buffer zone visible and there is no encroachment. 

Besides the ban on borewells in the 500-metre radius, a two-km radius would also be regularly checked for soil and groundwater contamination, they said. 

There are currently eight TSDFs and 26 CETPs that are supported by the government in the state. 

Officials said there are about seven more private TSDFs and over 5,000 private effluent treatment plants, while seven more ommon Effluent Treatment Plants are in the pipeline. 

Environmentalist who raised the issue cries foul

Vadodara-based environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, who was the first to raise the issue of residential complexes coming up in the buffer zones of TSDFs in November 2010, said he was deeply disappointed and angered by the decision reduce the range. 

“This is nothing but manipulation of environmental norms to legalise illegal projects. It shows powerful people can pressurise the government to do illegal modifications to legalise their illegal activities,” he said. 

“All this would not have happened if the government was vigilant enough to detect these constructions or acted upon his complaints since the constructions were still nascent and no one had occupied the flats as yet,” added Prajapati.

RTI on Modi's Fast

Press Release

Date: 18-9-2011

Activists from Gujarat Challenge Modi, ask which ministry spent how much money for the fast, officials from which ministry went to work for this non administrative stunt

Emacs! Emacs! Emacs! Emacs! Emacs! Emacs! Emacs! Emacs! Emacs!
Rohit Prajapati
[ROHIT PRAJAPATI]

Trupti Shah
[TRUPTI SHAH]

West Bengal: The Class Struggle is Not Over

West Bengal: The Class Struggle is Not Over

 

For a long time, the CPI(M) had been mistakenly identified with class struggle. As a result, there was much elation on the Right after 13 May 2011, when it was evident that Mamata Banerjee would head a rightwing government in the province of West Bengal, earlier ruled for 34 years by the CPI(M). A totally stunned CPI(M) has been in no position to wage any kind of struggle, since this party and its cadres all the way to the village panchayat level had become accustomed to police protection and government support whenever it wanted to wage a “struggle”.

But the working class found new channels to express itself. Unorganised sector workers have sarted organizing themselves. An 'Asangothito Khetra Sramik Sangrami Mancha' (Militant Forum of Unorganised Sector Workers) was formed by June 2011. For three months, the organizers campaigned among different sections of the unorganized workers. An early deputation to the new government, which had promised Parivartan (change) had elicited a simple response: we have just now come to power, so we need some time. Incidentally, the labour minister in the new government is a renegade ex-Naxalite.

From 6th to 8th September, for three days, close to 11,000 workers gathered at the Metro Channel, Calcutta’s usual place for open air meetings and gatherings. The principal demands were:

# Recognition and issuing of identity cards to all unorganised sector workers (including sex workers) ;

# Fixation of minimum wage for all unorganised sector workers as per the norms of the 15th Indian Labour Conference , along with strict implementation of the Minimum Wages Act;

# Provision of cheap food for all, starting with 7 kgs of rice per adult at Rs. 2 per kg;

# Strict implementation of all provisions, especially 100 days of work, in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, with expansion to a guarantee of 270 days of work for all rural and urban workers;

#Inclusion of all unorganised sector workers, including workers of closed factories, as priority group or BPL in the 2011 Socioeconomic Survey

# Effective implementation of the Forest Rights Act (Scheduled Tribes and Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act);

#Permanent status for all contract workers employed in perennial jobs in the organised sector;

#Recognition and extension of facilities available to all socially backward castes and tribes.

On the 8th, a deputation went to meet ministers. The response was blunt b—the government has a shortage of funds, so nothing can be done now. Few things have revealed the class character of the government so clearly. The workers too have thrown down the gauntlet, telling the government that unless their demands are met they will step up the level of agitation.

In India, at the moment, 37 per cent of the people have a body-mass index of less than 18.5, indicating they are suffering from malnutrition. The demand for making the PDS a stronger one is a rock-bottom minimum. The callous reaction of the government to this, while it discusses means of keeping the middle class and upper class voters happy, is something that will have more repercussions in days to come.

As callous as the government have been the major media. The Bengal Post alone carried a positive news. On the 9th, The Telegraph printed a photo with a caption that said it all:

Return of rally raj

- CITY CENTRE CHOKES, citizens suffer

And:

Processions by two unorganised workers' associations converge on Metro Channel on Thursday and (above) traffic stalls on the Park Street flyover.

What better a way of telling the working class that they are not citizens? Their sufferings merit at best an end of year tax savings donation to a charity. Unless they mobilize and fight, the working class will have no alternative. And the struggle has been joined, under new leaderships.

Maruti Struggle Continues Despite Repression: Statement

 

Maruti Struggle Continues Despite Repression: Statement by MARUTI SUZUKI EMPLOYEES UNION (MSEU) on 1 September 2011

 


The management of Maruti Suzuki Industries Limited, Manesar plant (Plot 1, Phase 3A) has terminated 11 and suspended 38 workers on 29th and 30th August 2011, on completely fabricated charges of go-slow in production and that workers have been ‘undisciplined’. It is doing this as a continuation of harassing workers for our struggle for the right of Union formation and other legitimate rights from June 4th to 16th. It is using brute police force to intimidate us, and is also continuing to pay and use bouncers and lumpen force to continuously threaten us. The management is also spreading a rumour that the production has resumed yesterday 31 August through a handful of contract workers, some supervisors, engineers and robots. This disinformation campaign has also been splashed across the media.

We on behalf of Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU) want to reiterate that production is at a complete halt, and not even a single car has been produced since 29th August 2011. All workers of the company, both permanent and contract, stand in solidarity and continue to wage struggle for our rights and against the management’s adamant attitude.

Today evening, 1st September, on the call of the MSEU, in solidarity with all the workers of MSIL, Manesar, over 5000 workers assembled at the factory gate no.1 for a dynamic gate meeting and juloos that followed in the IMT Manesar area. This includes workers from many factories in the Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal industrial belt in Haryana, including workers from Maruti Suzuki Gurgaon plant, Suzuki Powertrain Manesar, HMSI, Hero Honda, FCC Rico, Rico Auto Dharuhera, Rico Auto Manesar, Omax, Lumex, Sona Steering and many others. Workers and representatives of various Unions from the factory-based independent Trade Unions to central trade unions AITUC, HMS, CITU, INTUC, NTUI, AICCTU have solidly expressed solidarity with us. People from surrounding villages, as well as students, youth from universities and colleges in Haryana and Delhi and many intellectuals also participated in the meeting in solidarity with the workers.

We demand, as immediate steps, that the company revokes the termination of 11 workers and suspension of 38 workers. We also demand that it withdraw its charge-sheet imposed on the workers from June till now.

We appeal to all to stand in solidarity with our struggle in the coming days.

Shiv Kumar
General Secretary, MSEU

Statement by (Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity

Police Forced to Stop Supporting Traffickers

Women from the Shramajivi Mahila Samity  (Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity’s sister organisation) today protested against the tacit support the police was providing to traffickers by blockading the Kakdwip police station in the Sunderbans for six hours today .At 5PM, the police gave in to the Samity’s demands. The police provided a police escort and transport to about fifty protesting women to go to the Samity office which is about 15 kms away from the Police station to break open the house owner’s lock and to re-open the Samity office. A police force of 4 policemen has also been posted at the Samity office for the security of the Samity activists. In the meantime, the police is searching for five attackers, who have now fled their homes. In addition, police action is to be taken against anyone who harasses Zareena, a trafficking victim.  A written complaint is also being submitted by the Officer in Charge to the SP, so that action is taken against three police men who tried to negotiate with the attackers, who had supported the traffickers. Details of the incident that preceded the protest are given below.

Shramajivi Mahila Samity had rescued Zarina Khatun last year from Kashmir, where she had been sold by traffickers five years ago. After the filing of a case, the traffickers fled, fearing arrest. The relatives of the traffickers (including powerful political leaders) subjected Zarina and her family to an economic boycott in order to force them to withdraw the case. Joynur Biwi, an SMS activist, then offered the Samity’s office (which is also a residence for  her and other Samity workers) at Bhutomollah Pul, Kakdwip PS, to continue their economic activities.

The house owner, Daulat Sheikh, however told Joynur to vacate the house, saying that he did not want his premises to be used to help “women of bad character”. Joynur asked for time, but on the morning of 29th August 2011, the house owner and four others assaulted her. When they tried to attack her with chains, other people who had crowded around by then rescued her. She went first to the local police camp, only to be told that she deserved the beating, because she had misbehaved by not vacating the premises.

An FIR was filed after much pressure on the Officer in Charge in the evening (Case number 354 dated 29.8.11 under sections 341,323,354,379, and 506). Later, at 7 PM, when Samity organisers went with a police party to get the house re-opened, they were shocked to find the police negotiating with the assailants instead of arresting them.

The next day, on 30th August 2011, after the Samity organised a protest at the police station, the OC of the police station finally agreed to arrest the assailants within 48 hours and to get the office opened. However when no action was taken, today (2nd September 2011) a gherao of the police station was organised.

Appeal for Solidarity with Maruti Workers under Attack

Fighting Against the Autocratic Attack and Lock-out by the Management


Dear friend,

The management of the biggest car company in India, Mauti Suzuki India Limited has forced a lock-out at the Manesar, Gurgaon plant since the morning of 29 August. It has terminated 11 workers and suspended 10 more on baseless charges of indiscipline and participatins in a “go-slow action”. The company has also imposed a dictatorial and utterly illegal “good conduct bond” on the workers and has decreed that any worker who will not sign the bond will be considered “on strike” and will not be allowed to enter the plant. (Please see the text of the notice at the end of this letter.)

The management had started preparing for this lockout since the evening of Sunday and a large police force was deployed at its behest at the plant. The company has already appointed a number of ‘bouncers’ as security guards and several musclemen from nearby villages have also been hired to intimidate and threaten the workers. However, the workers are united and determined to fight this attack. Not a single woker has signed the bond. Along with the 1100 regular worker, around 2000 contract and apprentice workers have also joined the struggle, although te management tried to separate them by announcing leave for contract and apprentice workers till September 1.

The Haryana govt. is brazenly siding with the MSIL and laving no stone unturned in crushing the workers’ struggle. The BS Hudda led Congress got. had promptly declared the 13 day (4-17 June) strike illegal and its labour minister kept on trying to end the strike in favour of the company by threatning and misleading the workers.

Ever since the end of the strike in June, the management has been trying to dismiss and threaten or demoralize the workers by various means. Since July, some contract and apprentice workers are being thrown out almost every day. Even without counting the action on 29 August, 84 workers have been dismissed or suspended since July. In July, after the management sponsored elections of the Gurgaon plant based pro-management union, which was boycotted by Manesar workers, the management terminated some leading members of the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union which is still continuing.

Chief Minister Hudda had promised the workers leaders that there will be no difficulty in getting the union registered. However, just a day before 15 August, the govt. dismissed their application for registration and made it clear whose independence it really was. In fact, during the June strike, Hudda had promised Shinzo Nakanishi that his government will not allow the formation of a second union.

At least 2 million workers work in hundreds of units situated in the vast industrial belt in and around Gurgaon. There are around 1 million workers work in the units of automobile industry alone. These workers who produce auto parts for companies from all over the world in modern factories have to work in very bad conditions. More than 90 percent of these are contract workers who work for 10-12 hours for 4000-5000 per month. The workload and speed is extremely high and they have to face verbal abuse and even beatings by the supervisors and security guards. Most of the factories do not have unions and where the workers have managed to form a union, they have to face constant harrassment. The established big unions do nothing except paying lip service to the issues and in many cases have ditched the workers in favour of the management. In this scenario, the issue of the right to form a union is a common and universal issue in the Gurgaon industrial belt.

The workers of Maruti Suzuki, Manesar may earn a little bit more than other workers but they too work in very bad conditions. The work load is very high and sometimes they have to work for even 16 hours at a stretch. Getting a leave or off day is extremely difficult and heavy fines are imposed for even a few minutes delay. They get two short breaks of 7-8 minutes for lunch and tea, even toilet breaks are not allowed in between. They have to face abuses and threats if they refuse to work overtime. This is the reason behind the resolute struggle of the workers to form their separate union.

We appeal to all democratic rights activists, intellectuals, jurists, media persons and justice loving citizens for solidarity and support to their just struggle.

What you can do:

- Sign on the online petition at: http://www.facebook.com/l/fAQDwG0HWAQATqpEszEBBl2QjiZ2iMqnui4iIGCKp0rP90Q/bit.ly/pCCtjf

- We request that you send a letter of protest through email, fax, phone, letter and telegram to the Chief Minister, chief secretary, labour minister and labour secretary of Haryana and the officials of Maruti Suzuki India and Suzuki Japan, send memorandums and run a signature campaign to protest the repression of workers. The addresses, email ids, fax number etc are given below.

- Spread the news of this agitaion through your website, blog and facebook and appeal for support. 

- We request that teams of civil rights activists should come to Gurgaon and investigate the situation, prepare their report and let the voice of justice reach the government and people.

- We urge that you organise protest demonstrations on this issue in Delhi, Chandigarh and other cities of the country.

- If friends from Delhi and other cities can come to Gurgaon and extend their support to the workers’ movement and launch a ‘satyagrah’ in their support, it will strengthen their struggle.

Link : http://www.facebook.com/l/-AQB9WrgaAQBKSEbasYZ9tibG1Onwg0pBIQsMaTc4OFO3vA/workersresist.net/?p=1469

PS: For a recap of the backdrop and eventualities of the workers' strike in June, check the Newsclick report: http://www.facebook.com/l/YAQDLsFlZAQBuD5B-k-L5SSShW41ukpcwNiIHPcRU9uKfRA/www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrE4zKMOg8U

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