The indefinite hunger strike by sacked workers of Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India’s Rajasthan plant entered 17th day today with workers claiming no intervention from the Centre and State governments.
“It is unfortunate that neither central government nor Rajasthan government has intervened in spite of deteriorating health of five local union leaders sitting on hunger strike,” All India trade Union Congress (AITUC) said in a statement.
When contacted, a spokesperson of Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) said: “Contrary to the issue being coined as a labour issue by a section of ex-employees, it was actually a matter of gross in-discipline.
“They were sacked for planned sabotage at plant including damage to machinery, inventory and production loss which led to over Rs 120 million losses in February. Moreover, threatening the lives of co-workers under the name of union formation cannot be ignored.”
The trade union added that last month it led a delegation to meet Union Labour Secretary and also gave a memorandum to the Resident Commissioner of Rajasthan in Delhi.
Besides, a delegation of Central Trade Unions led by India National trade Union Congress (INTUC) President Sanjeev Reddy met the Union Labour Minister earlier this week along with representatives of Trade Union Council of Gurgaon, Manesar, Dharuhera industrial belt, it said.
The delegation also urged the government to intervene in the matter.
The union claims that HMSI management had terminated the services of 102 workers, suspended 25 and thrown out more than 2000 so called contract workers when they organised a union and applied for its registration.
“Unions of Rajasthan will organise protest demonstrations on all districts on October 6, 2016 throughout the state to express solidarity with the victimised Honda workers,” AITUC said.
In February this year, HMSI had terminated 102 permanent workers and suspended 47 workers (out of which 25 have been taken back) following “a pre-meditated plant sabotage”.
“Before being sacked these workers had demanded Rs 11,000 each from each permanent worker towards forming the union. Those who did not cooperate were beaten up and forcibly detained at plant by blocking the factory exits on February 16, which led to the police action,” HMSI said.
It further said: “These workers were booked under various charges under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 395 (dacoity) filed by the Rajasthan police after they had attacked the state police who was trying to evacuate them from plant after the sabotage in plant on February 16.”
HMSI started the Tapukara factory in 2011 and churns out 1.2 million scooters and bikes a year and employs 500 permanent and around 2,000 casual workers.