Tuesday, October 27, 2009

India: Workers Roar and tremors felt in US and Canada


Rico Workers
’ Strike in India, Forces Canadian and US Auto Manufacturers to Down Their Shutters!
-Our Delhi Correspondent/ 26.10.2009


The ongoing talks for reconciliation between employers and workers of Rico Auto Industries at Manesar, Gurgaon, broke down today as workers refused to relent till their demands were met by the employers, which include a compensation of Rs. 50 lakhs for the worker shot dead by the police and security guards of the factory, last Sunday and reinstating all the dismissed workers. Workers are also demanding an inquiry into the incident and prosecution for those who resorted to violence.

The workers strike at Manesar has resulted into severe crisis in auto manufacturing industry in US and Canada, where auto manufacturing giants like Ford and General Motors have been forced to shut down their plants due to shortage of transmission parts being supplied by the Rico Auto Industries, at Manesar, India.

While the shutdown of General Motors company in North America is on the anvil, the Ford has already declared a shut down of its plant at Oakville, Ontario, starting from tomorrow for a week.

The newspapers in Canada have reported that during week long shutdown, Ford alone would face a loss of production of more than five thousand cars. Ford produces the Edge SUV, the Flex, Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKT seven-passenger vehicles at this plant. In case the workers’ strike at Rico Industries continues further, there is every likelihood that the shutdown would also continue at Ford. The company has already made declaration in this regard through its spokesman Todd Nissan.

The locked out employees get 65% of regular pay, which is paid conjointly by the Ford and employment insurance companies. The Oakville plant in Canada has been running two shifts, employing about more than 3,000 workers. The insurance companies of US and Canada, would thus be another casualty of the agitation of workers at Manesar.

The shut down at Ford has been forced at a time when Ford had recently announced that it would build a new lower-priced, small car for the Indian market called the Figo, with prospects of its export to other parts of Asia and Africa.

Production at auto plants in US and Canada was already forced to be slowed down since earlier this month, with the intensification of ‘slow down’ stir by workers in Rico Industries in Manesar, India.

The workers of Rico Industries had been demanding higher wages and better working conditions. However, the strife has worsened since last Sunday, when the employers in collusion with the local police and more than 1000 hired goons had attempted to break the agitation of workers through violence and fired upon the agitating workers, leaving one dead, four suffering bullet wounds and more than 65 workers badly injured on the spot. In retaliation to the violence workers resolved to reinforce their agitation, while workers from other factories came out in solidarity with agitating workers of Rico and an unprecedented demonstration accompanie dby general strike in the region, was held on October 20, this week, against the capitalist bosses and the government, in which, more than one lakh workers, duly armed with Lathis etc. had participated. (see the report: http://new-wave-nw.blogspot.com/2009/10/one-lakh-workers-go-on-flash-strike-to.html)

The corporate media has expressed its concern over the workers’ action and the militancy shown by it. Wall Street Journal has written that, “The strike has offered another glimpse into India's mercurial manufacturing sector. Labor unrest can erupt quickly in India, leaving companies with little time to negotiate with disgruntled employees or adjust to a strike. The labor troubles, especially in India's lucrative automobile industry, have prompted warnings from foreign companies that they might consider shifting operations from the country if strikes continue to hamper production”.

Seeing the devastating consequences of the workers’ stir, however, the management of Rico industries has started to relent. Surinder Chaudhary, vice-president for human resources at Rico Auto Industries, told that the company is continuing to take back the terminated workers, following weeks of work stoppages due to strikes. He told that on Friday, 900 workers showed up for shifts, and there was further expectation of 2,000 to return over the next few days.

The hopes of the company however, proved to be mis-founded after the conciliatory talks broke down today, as workers continued to press for unconditional acceptance of all their demands by the management. The company spokesman however, termed the strike by the workers as illegal, saying that no prior notice of the strike has been given by the workers to the employers.

By their experience, the workers have learnt that all legality is directed against them. The provisions of prior notice of strike envisaged in Industrial Laws are a device to alarm the employers to make arrangements in advance to subterfuge the action of workers. The flash strikes, slowdowns etc. defying all provisions of Industrial laws, hitting at most opportune moment, are proven the best ways to deal with employers.

Boasting of the employers that they would shift their establishment to some other location or country in face of offensive of workers, is devoid of genuine basis. After eruption of general crisis of world capitalism and simultaneous decline of Stalinism, the capitalists are facing widespread resistance from the working class. The intrusion of international capital in peripheral countries on an unprecedented scale, in search for more and more profits, has already made the backward countries a hotbed of militant labour struggles, while the advanced parts of the world are saturated and hardly permit such shifting in view of fast declining rate of profit in them.

The global integration of economy has placed immense power at the disposal of the working class. The workers in different countries are more and more emerging as a single international working class, having a global impact, character and unity of interests and above all an undivided class will and a single historic mission. Every individual workers’ struggle on the globe, demonstrates the fact that the time of capitalism is nearing with each skirmish. The day is not very far when it would find no place on the earth to ‘shift’ or even 'move'.

Reprinted from new wave blog
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