Several thousand workers across a dozen manufacturing units between Gurugram and Bawal responded to the call of the Trade Union Council (joint council of all trade unions in this industrial belt) on 17th December to stand shoulder to shoulder with the striking contract workers of Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Ltd. The workers boycotted lunch in their own units to express solidarity with the Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) Limited contractual workers.
The workers of all three plants of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, HMSI, Bellsonica Auto Component India Private Limited, Satyam Auto Components Limited, Munjal Showa Limited, Napino Auto and Electronics Limited, Hilex India Private Limited and Reco Auto Industries Limited took part in the protest. The permanent workers of HMSI have been standing with the contract workers in their factory, during their sit-in for 43 days and have marched with them on their protest rallies.
The workers of HMSI have been protesting since 5th November against retrenchment.
Nearly a thousand workers have been thrown out since the beginning of the year, and the workers were agitating because another 200 contract workers were being thrown out. All these workers have joined the agitation, sitting at the gate of the Manesar plant. Many contract workers have worked for years on end at HMSI under one or another contractor employed by the management. The contract workers have always been demanding that they be regularized. However, they are being mercilessly thrown out of their jobs. The management is not offering any explanation but it is clear that they want to replace the contract workforce with more flexible temporary workforce and NEEM (National Employment Enhancement Mission) trainees. In 2018, and in the last 2 years, around 800 NEEM workers have been hired. These NEEM trainees are given only Rs. 11,000 out of which half is paid by the government; contract workers who have been working for many years are paid Rs.18000-20000 per month.
The contract workers are opposing this and also demanding that every retrenched contract worker be given Rs 1 lakh for every year he has worked in the plant. On the contrary, in August this year, around 800 workers were retrenched before Diwali to avoid giving them a Diwali bonus and other facilities. No compensation was given to them.
The workers started this round of agitation on 5th November with a sit-in inside the plant. The management denied them all amenities inside. The workers held out till the plant was shut down and then they moved to the factory gate. The workers have resolved to fight till the last and this resolve is strengthened when other workers stand in solidarity with them.