Factory Occupation at Hero Honda, May 2006 – अब कोई आशा है तो वह सर्वहारा वर्ग से ही है
About Gurgaon Workers News
GurgaonWorkersNews is a project independent from political parties, trade unions, state institutions or NGOs, trying to support workers’ self-organisation in their struggle for a better life – as part of the process towards global social emancipation from the existing system. One of the projects aim is to document the development and workers’ struggles in and around Gurgaon, one of the current boom regions of global capital. For this reason we publish a monthly electronic newsletter on this site.
GurgaonWorkersNews is not meant to be a purely documenting project, it is not supposed to be a one way street. We plan to distribute a regular newsletter/leaflet amongst workers in the area which, apart from local news, would contain workers` information of related industries, companies or boom regions from other places in the world. If you want to have your information distributed to workers of a specific company, see list of companies on this site, or if you would offer to do the same at your place, please get in touch.
‘Faridabad Majdoor Samachar’ is a monthly publication in the Hindi language. In 1982, we began publishing 1,000 copies in 2 page format. In 1993 we began to publish and distribute 5,000 copies of the paper each month in Faridabad and Okhla Industrial area of Delhi. Since 2007, the number of copies has increased to 7,000 since we now also distribute the paper amongst factory workers in Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon. Between Faridabad, Okhla, and Gurgaon, there are two to two and half million factory workers.
The newspaper is free and we distribute it by standing along roadsides during shift-changing hours. We give the newspaper to workers who ask for it. It takes ten days each month to distribute the 7,000 copies. Most of the copies are taken by industrial workers working in thousands of factories in Faridabad and adjoining industrial areas of Delhi. Some copies are taken by office workers in Faridabad and Delhi. About 500 copies are posted to different places.
First-hand experiences and ideas of wage-workers at large of different factories, offices, research-centres, etc. make-up most of the newspaper. A brief article addresses these experiences and ideas. A column also deals with ‘Questions for Alternatives’.
In Faridabad three-fourths of the factory workers are invisible workers, or workers who are not in the company’s records. 85% are temporary workers and workers hired through contractors. The statutory minimum wages, presently Rs. 3,914 [US$ 83.28 approx.] per month, are not paid to 80% of the work force. Even permanent workers are not paid wages for two-three-four-six months. Workers of hundreds of factories that have been closed have not been paid their legal dues even after five-ten-fifteen years of factory closure.
Each issue of ‘Faridabad Majdoor Samachar’ caries articulations of workers of 50 to 60 factories on such issues. Over a period of time, stress on self-activity of wage-workers to confront and transform the present has become a focus of the newspaper.
Since March 2010 friends from Faridabad Majdoor Samachar invite workers in the Delhi industrial areas to join in a collective effort of organisation. Below you can find their proposal.
(Hindi: FMS New Series No. 261, March 2010)
*In today’s conditions how can large numbers act or work collectively? In the present, how can we make organized efforts on an increasing scale? For positive roles, what should be the form of organizations today? We have been grappling with those questions for quite some time.
Below we are presenting our preliminary conclusions in a broad way. On the basis of this understanding, we are beginning our activities in Faridabad, Okhla (Delhi), and Gurgaon. All those who want to make efforts for a straight-simple common life in the dominance of crookedness and show are invited to give suggestions and even more than that, to be one with the attempt.
*For 30 years, we have been looking at factory workers as the chief carriers of emancipation from the present. After some experiences amongst factory workers in Gwalior, Indore, and Bhopal from 1982 on, we have focused ourselves on the city of factories, Faridabad. In recent years, we have obtained some experiences in Okhla Industrial area (Delhi) and Gurgaon which has very rapidly emerged as a major center of modern industry. Together with direct experiences and reflections on them, we have made efforts to know the experiences of worker’s activities in factories, mines, transport etc in different areas of India. We have made special efforts to know the experiences and ideas of workers in other parts of the world. Together with those of the present, we have tried to know-understand the experiences of past generations. On the basis of all these experiences and ideas, we are presenting this proposal about organized efforts, about organization today.
* The first necessity for collective steps is to create opportunities for coming together. We gather in factories, but there are many obstacles to easy conversations. 12 to 16 hours duty every day and then the time it takes to commute, buy vegetables-ration, collecting water, making arrangements for oil-gas, cooking food or giving time to children-wife… In such a scenario, it is very difficult for most workers to find time to go somewhere to meet others. Going regularly to neighbor’s rooms to meet others creates many difficulties as well. In this situation, Majdoor Samachar Talmel is making its primary work or activity to provide spaces in localities for gatherings.
Very soon, we will try to set up baithaks (meeting places) in Faridabad, Gurgaon, and Okhla Industrial area. As per convenience, one can spend time without any hesitation in the baithak and without any hindrance, exchange experiences and ideas for half an hour-one hour- two hours. Suggestions and cooperations and help for setting up baithaks at various places are welcome. If things proceed well, the organization will contribute to setting up dere (places where in teh past in the Northwest people lived, worked, and shared together) for those desirous of living collectively.
*There will be no posts in the organization. Members will be on the basis of baithaks and they will constitute the committee. There will be efforts to increase togetherness-coordination amongst baithaks-committees. Those contributing to coordinations will have a technical role and they will not have any additional power. In committees, there will not be any hierarchy. There will of course be no formal posts. The informal importance due to experience-activeness will not be increased. Rather, efforts will be made to decrease that importance. Members will not be as unequals, but there will be no discrimination amongst members.
For rent of the baithak etc., members will contribute five rupees per month. For helping one another, members will give and energy as per their capacities. Permanent worker, casual worker, workers hired through contractor, employees, all workers can become members of the organization. Economic help on personal basis from members and those sympathetic to talmel (togetherness) is welcome. But money will not be taken from institutions.
*Majdoor Samachar Talmel will not be registered. The organization will not debate with companies-governments. It will not try to convince them. It will not enter into negotiations with authorities. Generally, the organization will not give reactions. We will take steps as per our understanding and convenience and will leave reactions in the arena of companies-governments. Members, together with their coworkers, will continuously make efforts for steps at their workplaces. Majdoor Samachar Talmel will try to take steps on the basis of area, wider areas.
*We hope that in some months such conditions will emerge where collective steps would be able to provide minor relief to members and other workers. For example, in Faridabad, Okhla, and Gurgaon when workers are fired from or quit a job, wages of 5-10-15 days of performed work are generally not given. On the basis of baithak, 10 people will go with the affected person and try to obtain immediate relief. There will be discussion in some detail about this at baithak places.
*There should not be the necessity to discuss courts, under the government of India. Even if a judge wants, she-he cannot do anything pro-labor because the process is crooked, long, drawn-out and there is space for appeal after appeal. Yes, the organization will try to provide relief against acts of companies, such as putting illegal pressure on workers by taking them to police stations and threatening them. We hope that in some months, Majdoor Samachar Talmel will be able to send lawyers for workers held in police stations in such conditions.
*Together with efforts by members to take steps as per their convenience and their workplaces and by the organization on area basis, ordinary workers will be encouraged to perform what they can easily do. For example, in cases of statutory minimum wages not being paid, provisions of Employee State Insurance, Provident Fund, forced overtime and payment at single rate instead of double rate, insults-beatings, delay in wages etc. providing help to make complaints to the concerned Department and Authority. At the baithak, addresses and suggestions for writing letters will be easily available.
*Majdoor Samachar Talmel will be based on baithaks in localities and will be open to coordinations with steps taken by workers collectively in other places in India, in other regions of the world. The organization will make special efforts to coordinate with workers intiatives especially and people’s initiatives generally throughout the world. Those decisions of contributing to such coordinations will be given memberships even without being connected to a baithak.
Think about becoming a member, helping choose a place for baithak in a locality, exchange experiences and ideas in a congenial atmosphere. Paths will emerge- will go forward.