The struggle of the arrested and terminated workers of the Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar has reached the Prime Minister’s Office. A workers’ group, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, has petitioned the PMO and the Union Ministry of Labour demanding justice against “repression by the Maruti management in nexus with the Haryana Government”.
They have also demanded a high-level probe into the violence which took place on July 18 last and called for reinstatement of 546 permanent workerswhose services were terminated allegedly without the management issuing any show-cause notice to them.
While protesting at Jantar Mantar on Thursday, coordinator of Bigul Mazdoor Dasta Ajay demanded that the “deeply flawed” investigation done by the Haryana Police be nullified and a fresh, high-level investigation initiated. He also highlighted the “collusion” of the Maruti management, administration and police against the workers.
Talking about “violation” of workers’ rights, Ajay said: “As a result of the police investigation in the July 18 episode of violence, workers were arrested, jailed and have been denied bail till date. The company at the same time terminated hundreds of workers accusing them of involvement in the incident well before the police investigation was completed.”
“This year, the Haryana Police brutally lathi-charged the workers and their families and arrested some of those who gathered to protest peacefully at the residence of Haryana Industries Minister at Kaithal. There are innumerable such incidences of repression of the Maruti workers since last year which highlight the state of affairs on the issue of labour rights,” he added.
Shivani from Stree Mazdoor Sangathan argued that the absence of an independent investigation into the incident amounted to “grave miscarriage” of justice as “the workers were being unfairly witch-hunted and disproportionately harassed”.
“That is why we have petitioned the PMO for a high-level probe which should investigate into the role of hired bouncers, who were present at the spot, and also of the Haryana Police officers responsible for violation of legal guidelines regarding arrest and for custodial torture of arrestees and harassment of their family members,” she added.