GurgaonWorkersNews – Newsletter 61 – January 2014
Snapshots of the situation at Maruti Suzuki Manesar after the riot on 18th of July 2012 and further reports from the automobile front-line in India and beyond – For an organisational leap forward.
On 18th of July 2012, the struggle at Maruti Suzuki Manesar plant culminated in an attack by two, three thousand workers, both permanent and temporary, on the symbols of capital. Parts of the factory were burnt down, a hundred managers were hospitalised, one of them died. The representatives of capital and the political class were stunned by incomprehension: these workers had been given considerable concessions after the factory occupations in 2011, and to have a permanent job at Maruti Suzuki is or was considered a life-time achievement by most workers in the Delhi area and beyond.
Why then this rage?
We ask the same question, although from a perspective of appraisal and hope for widening unrest towards a social alternative. More than a year after the incident we are only able to give snapshots of the current situation at Maruti and in the wider sector. Rather than it being a mere documentation, we hope that it will become part of the debate for a collective organisational process. We therefore emphasise the importance of small steps, such as the international leaflet on the condition at the automobile supplier Sandhar and the international solidarity action for Alfa Laval workers in Pune, which you can find in this issue of GurgaonWorkersNews.
List of (Dis-)Content:
*** A balance-sheet of class struggle and class divisions in the global automobile industry: Translation of a recent article by collective ‘wildcat’ from Germany
We think that this article provides a good analysis of the global context within which we can locate the unrest in and around the Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar, India
*** Automobile crisis in India: A short current overview on the crisis in India in general and at Maruti Suzuki plant and its suppliers in concrete terms
The management’s reaction to the workers’ attack in 2011 and 2012 take place against the background of a slump in the automobile market and the general deepening of the crisis in India.
*** Interpretation of a riot: Different perspectives on the 18th of July 2012
We briefly summarise the different political reactions in the aftermath of the riot and document a pamphlet on ‘workers’ violence’ by Mouvement Communiste, which relates to the events at Maruti Suzuki
*** Defensive attacks by state and management: Summary of developments inside and outside the Maruti Suzuki plant after 18th of July 2012
We document changes introduced in the workforce composition, wage differential and production output inside the plant. The strategical changes inside the plant were accompanied by policing measures of the state apparatus e.g. by taking 150 Maruti Suzuki as political prisoners. We have a critical look at how state repression channeled the Maruti workers’ movements after the 18th of July 2012.
*** Hidden impact of the Maruti Suzuki struggle
Two years later, workers at Napino Auto recall how the factory occupation and further struggle in their plant was influenced by the events at the nearby Maruti Suzuki plant. We encourage special attention towards this report because it demonstrates quite clearly the dynamic between workers’ self-activity and subsequent institutionalisation.
*** The impasses of trade union struggle: Recent local and regional examples from the automobile industry
Struggles continued after the 18th of July 2012. We visited workers in struggle at Munjal Kiriu in Manesar, Autofit automobile suppliers in Gurgaon, Hyundai workers in Chennai and Alfa Laval workers in Pune. We encourage a critical reflection of these experiences and the current limitations set by the trade union form.
*** Political conclusions: For an organisational leap forward
We try to raise some questions concerning the relation between ‘practical solidarity’ and ‘productive criticism’ of current struggles and the necessity for an international coordination of our efforts. One of such efforts are the regular meetings in Sewagram, India, which address comrades in the region.
*** Appendix I
Two leaflets; a) addressing workers who are either locked-out or in an ‘isolated strike’ and b) international leaflet from and for Sandhar Automotives Workers in English, Hindi, Tamil, Polish and Spanish
*** Appendix II
Automobile workers’ reports from Delhi area, published and circulated in Faridabad Majdoor Samachar in 2012/2013. The reports demonstrate the vast network of the supply-chain and its internal segmentation.
JCB, Escorts, Honda Motorcycles and Scooter, Honda Car (Factory construction worker), Maruti Suzuki (Factory construction worker), DS Buhin, Chassis Breaks International, Track Components, Satyam Auto, Amtek, Belsonica, G Tech, Auto Ignition, KR Rubberite, SW Bajaj Motors, AA Autotech, Super Auto, Vinas Corporation, Vinay Auto, Vimal Moulders, Clutch Auto, Kiran Udyog, Nita Krishna, SKH Metal, no-name workshop worker, Autodecker, Rico Auto, Satellite Forging, Super Auto, ASK Automotive
We think that this article provides a global context within which we can locate the unrest in and around the Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar, India
(from: Wildcat no.95, Winter 2013/14 – http://www.wildcat-www.de)
Automobiles – Struggles and Class Divisions