Honda workers to go on indefinite strike in fight for justice

By Amit Kumar,

Delhi: Workers from the Tapukara (Alwar district, Rajasthan) plant of Honda Motorcycle and Scooter Pvt. Ltd. will go on an indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar from September 19 onwards to fight against the wrongful dismissal of over 3,000 contract workers and 200 permanent workers for protesting against one of their colleagues being beaten up.

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On February 16, a worker was beaten up and held back in the company for forced overtime. When all the workers came to know about it, they demanded an enquiry and action on the accused engineer. However, the workers allege that the company management called the bouncers who aggressively attacked the workers. Soon the police came and lathi-charged the workers, which resulted in serious injuries to a number of workers.

To make matters worse, workers were slapped with serious charges under section 307, 395 etc of IPC and were put behind the bar. Around 3,000 contract workers and over 500 permanent workers were thrown out of their jobs. Over the last seven months, about 350 of these workers have been employed again, but the fate of around 200 permanent workers, and the 3,000 contract workers remains undecided.

Sacked workers protesting outside Jaipur labour department earlier this year.

On 19 February, around 5,000 workers had a rally from Tau Devilal Park, Gurgaon to the Honda head office, and started a sit in demonstration there. Within a day the workers were forced to leave by the police under the pretext of section 144. After that the workers tried to have demonstrations in Tapukara, Alwar, Dharuhera, Jaipur but could not advance because of severe repression by the police-administration. The workers sought justice from the Rajasthan and Haryana government, but there was no response.

Speaking to, Naresh Mehta, President, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter Kamgaar Union said, “Last year in August, we tried to register our union with the Jaipur labour department, but the company got a stay order on the same and the matter is still pending in court. Since then, the workers have been at the mercy of the company officials,” he said. “We have in the past, protested against the lack of sick leaves, delays in salaries for the contractual labourers and fire-on-the-spot policy. This irked the company and on February 16, their goons along with cops beat us severely,” he added. “We are not only demanding for action against the accused officials, but also reinstating our previous demands and formation of a registered trade union,” he said.

On September 19, Mehta said about 500-1,000 sacked workers will be arriving in Delhi for the indefinite hunger strike and they will be accompanied by trade unions from Delhi and Gurgaon. The group will demand that all suspended and terminated workers be taken back, all the false criminal cases be withdrawn immediately and all trade union rights ensured.