Striking / Locked-out Groz Workers March 2010

GurgaonWorkersNews – Newsletter 24 (April 2010)

Gurgaon in Haryana is presented as the shining India, a symbol of capitalist success promising a better life for everyone behind the gateway of development. At a first glance the office towers and shopping malls reflect this chimera and even the facades of the garment factories look like three star hotels. Behind the facade, behind the factory walls and in the side streets of the industrial areas thousands of workers keep the rat-race going, producing cars and scooters for the middle-classes which end up in the traffic jam on the new highway between Delhi and Gurgaon. Thousands of young proletarianised middle class people lose time, energy and academic aspirations on night-shifts in call centres, selling loan schemes to working-class people in the US or pre-paid electricity schemes to the poor in the UK. Next door, thousands of rural-migrant workers uprooted by the agrarian crisis stitch and sew for export, competing with their angry brothers and sisters in Bangladesh or Vietnam. And the rat-race will not stop; on the outskirts of Gurgaon, Asia’s biggest Special Economic Zone is in the making. The following newsletter documents some of the developments in and around this miserable boom region. If you want to know more about working and struggling in Gurgaon, if you want more info about or even contribute to this project, please do so via:

http://www.gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com
gurgaon_workers_news@yahoo.co.uk

In the April 2010 issue you can find:

1) Proletarian Experiences -
Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective

-*** In the Spiral of Inflation / Reports from Gurgaon Metal and Textile Factories -
In March 2010 the transport prices on most routes within Gurgaon doubled, milk got more expensive, in April 2010 the government announced that cooking gas and petrol price will increase further. Within the spiral of inflation the pressure to work overtime increases. The 30 per cent minimum wage increase for workers in Delhi is a real wage loss – nevertheless it increases workers’ discontent, as a friend from Okhla has told us. Metal and textile workers from Gurgaon told their reports to friends of Faridabad Majdoor Samachar during distribution of the newspaper in February 2010.

*** What Are You/We Doing / Proletarian Autobiography -
A 55 years old worker tells about his life-long attempts to escape from field-work drudgery and to avoid ‘real subsumption’, the direct control of capital. He goes back and forth between village and town, survives on short jobs in factories, business activities like peanut and cigarette selling and self-employed white-washing of other people’s brick-walls.

2) Collective Action -
Reports on proletarian struggles in the area

*** First Lock-Out, then Scientological Brain-Wash: Up-Date on Denso Car-Parts Factory and on Strike at Groz Tool Factory, Gurgaon -
On 22nd of March 2010 Denso in Manesar announced that it will take 23 out of 36 suspended workers back. The company ‘promises’ to take the rest back after one month, given a peaceful atmosphere in the factory. All Denso workers will be sent to one week of training in a Brahma Kumaris “World Spiritual University” Ashram near Manesar, to find a “peaceful mind”. During the lock-out in Manesar, Denso workers in Poland confronted the company with wage demands. In closer spacial proximity workers at nearby tool manufacturing company Groz also sit outside the factory after suspension of 16 workers. (Missed) chances of a proletarian just-in-time solidarity…

3) According to Plan -
General information on the development of the region or on certain company policies

*** Warfare against the Huts, Gated Peace for the Palaces / Note on Slum Raids and Fires in Gurgaon -
In times when land converts into ‘land-banks’ and the price paid to farmers for an acre of agricultural land in Gurgaon/Manesar can be around 4 to 6 crore Rs the question of who can live on it and how becomes a question of life in a mortal atmosphere. Short news on raids of unauthorised colonies in Gurgaon and slum fires in Faridabad.

4) About the Project -
Updates on Gurgaon Workers News

*** Organising Workers Collectivities / Proposal by Faridabad Majdoor Samachar -
Friends of Faridabad Majdoor Samachar (FMS) are opening various places in Faridabad, Okhla and Gurgaon, inviting workers to meet, talk and coordinate practical steps together. They have published a proposal in the current issue of FMS which has been distributed within the industrial areas. Read their proposal in English translation on their web-site.
Faridabad Majdoor Samachar

*** Glossary -
Updated version of the Glossary: things that you always wanted to know, but could never be bothered to google. Now even in alphabetical order.

———————

1) Proletarian Experiences -
Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective

-*** In the Spiral of Inflation / Reports from Gurgaon Metal and Textile Factories -

In April 2010 the government announces that inflation will cross the 10 per cent mark. For proletarian goods inflation has gone way beyond this mark already, particularly when looking at prices of vegetables, sugar, rice, pulses. In March the transport costs on most routes within Gurgaon doubled. Cooking gas price will increase by about 40 Rs per cylinder; diesel and petrol prices will be increased on 1st of April.

The state governments have to react when it comes to workers’ wages. In March 2010 workers in Haryana got a Dearness Allowance of 300 Rs per month, increasing the minimum wage for helpers to 4,214 Rs. The minimum wage for workers in Delhi was increased by 30 per cent in March 2010, helpers are now entitled to 5,272 Rs, the Uttar Pradesh government (industrial area of neighbouring NOIDA) followed by announcing a 40 per cent hike.

The first question will be whether companies will pass on the increase in full amount. Friends working in garments industry in Okhla (Delhi) told us about serious conflicts and work stoppages caused by companies’ initial refusal to increase wages. The second question will be at what point the considerable minimum wage difference created between Delhi and neighbouring Haryana (Faridabad, Gurgaon) will cause major disgruntlement both within capitalist and working class.

On a global scale in the garments export industry these wage developments will have an impact on the international position of the local industry, given the enormous global pressure on commodity prices, increasing competition and labour costs of around 40 per cent of production costs. Friends in Okhla reported recent lay-offs – in case of Unistyle company 10 per cent of the work-force were sent home.

The pressure on workers increases – during recent years we have seen wildcat actions taken by workers after an official minimum wage increase to actually enforce a wage hike on the shop floor. Things waiting to happen. For now we can only document metal and textile workers reports to friends of Faridabad Majdoor Samachar, shared during distribution of the newspaper in February 2010.

Bhurji Supertech Worker
(272 Udyog Vihar Phase 2)
The 100 permenent workers received the December wages on 20th of January, the 200 workers hired through contractors haven received the wage yet, by 30th of January. The helpers hired through contractor get 3,000 Rs, from this 554 Rs is cut for ESI and PF, but you get neither card nor PF form. They swear a lot.

Classic Dials Worker
(367 Udyog Vihar Phase 2)
Out of the 150 workers employed in the factory 125 are helpers most of them female workers. The helpers’ wage is 2,500 Rs. You work till 10:30pm at night, overtime is paid at single rate. We produce dials for watches, brands like Maxima, Titan, Sonata, HMT. Less than 25 workers get ESI and PF. If you leave the job, the last 8 to 10 days are not paid.
Tel.: +(91)-(124)-4001734, 2340765, 4001733

Dhir International Worker
(299 Udyog Vihar Phase 2)
The daily working-times are from 9 am in the morning till 1 am in the night. The women workers are sent home at 9:30 pm. Normally we work Sundays from 9 am till 9 pm, sometimes till Monday morning 9 am. each month 180 to 200 hours overtime. Overtime is paid at 15 Rs per hour, and of the total overtime 400 to 500 Rs gets embezzled. The wages are paid with delay. On 13th and 14th of January the workers refused to work, they were paid their December wages on 20th of January. The wages of the thread cutting women workers is 3,800 Rs, of the tailors 4,000 to 4,100 Rs. Out of 600 workers less than 100 get ESI and PF. The toilets are dirty and the management swears a lot.

http://www.indianexporters.com/dhir-international-pvt.-ltd.-com-555568722.html

Enexco Technology Worker
(157 Nauragpur, Gurgaon)
In the plant 260 workers work on to 10 1/2 hours shifts, manufacturing machinery for the cement industry. Between 6 and up to 15 days per month people would start working at 8 am and work till the next day 6:30 pm. If you stay inside the factory for 34 1/2 hours they pay 15 hours overtime. The 30 permanent workers are paid overtime at 1.5 rate, the 180 casuals and 50 workers hired through contractors are paid single rate. If you work for 34 1/2 hours they give you 56 Rs for two meals and breakfast. If you work 10 1/2 hours they give you three tea breaks. Money for ESI and PF is cut from the casual workers wages, but they are not given an ESI card or PF number. If you ask for the PF number, they kick you out. If you leave the job, they don’t fill in the PF form. Some workers caused a lot of trouble – they were given back the money which had been cut from their wages.

http://rajb2b.com/yellowpages/profile-enexco_technologies/Enexco-Technologies-India-Ltd.html

Instyle Worker
(140 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
The helpers get 3,500 Rs and the tailors get 4,000 to 4,100 Rs. There are 100 hours of overtime per month, paid at single rate. They cut ESI and PF money from wages, but when you leave they don’t give you the fund money. I had filled in the PF form after 18 month of employment. The PF office sent it back saying that no money has been transferred to the account throughout this period of employment.

http://www.importgenius.com/shipments/instyle-exports-pvt.html

Jay Switch Worker
(407 Udyog Vihar Phase 3)
We are forced to work overtime and during that time the company does not even provide for tea. Overtime is paid at single rate and the December Wages have not been paid by 30th of January.
Tel.: +(91)-(124)-4001465 / 4001466

Kalamkari Export Worker
(280 Udyog Vihar Phase 2)
Tailors work in the factory for years without break, but the company issues new company cards every 5 to 6 months. The ESI and PF numbers change. We work 120 hours overtime per month, paid at 1.5 rate. In the finishing department 55 workers are employed through contractor: the thread cutter get 2,500 to 2,700 Rs, the press operators 3,000 Rs and workers who remove threads get 3,200. No one gets ESI or PF. Working times are from 8:30 am till 9:30 pm, no day off per month. We work 150 to 200 hours overtime per month, paid at single rate. From the overtime 500 Rs per month gets embezzled. If an inspector comes to the factory, these 55 workers are kicked out beforehand. They don’t give tea, they tell you off instead.

http://www.importgenius.com/shipments/kalamkari-designs-pvt.html

Krishna Label Worker
(162 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
The 450 workers are hired through three different contractors. From wages dues for ESI and PF are cut. I left the job after nine months and the manager said that PF forms are filled in by the contractor – but the contractor had abandoned the contract with Krishna company. Instead 8 they make you work 9 hours a day for the minimum wage. They don’t pay the last 20 days of outstanding wagesIf you complain they say that you should bring the pay-slip, but the company never issued pay-slips.

http://delhi.justdial.com/krishna-labels-pvt-ltd_gurgaon_Delhi_byqbeeoPkfq.htm

Logwell Forge Worker
(116 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
In the shearing department 65 workers had been employed by the company directly for years – before Diwali they have been transformed into workers hired through contractor. If you take a day off, they send you home the next day – without pay. Now there are 30 out of 65 left of us and we work as much as in old times when we were more than double as many workers. They used to give you money for the uniform and shoes, in 2009 they did not. We work on two 12-hours shifts, they pay single rate.

http://www.kellysearch.co.in/in-company-350507277.html

MDH Masale Worker
(216 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
The company employs 10 to 12 workers directly and 150 through contractors. Overtime is paid at single rate.

Neetee Clothing Worker
(218 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
The wages of the 30 to 40 women workers who cut threads is 2,700 Rs per month, they don’t get ESI or PF. The 100 tailors get neither ESI nor PF. We work from 9 am till 10 pm – the women workers are also forced to work that long. Overtime is paid at single rate. When you leave the job the last 10 to 15 days are not paid. The management swears a lot.

http://www.neetee.com/

Poddar Export Worker
(637 Udyog Vihar Phase 5)
They tell you that they pay 4,000 Rs in the cutting department, actually they pay 3,500 Rs. No ESI, no PF. The thread cutters get 3,000 to 3,200 Rs. Normal shifts are from 9:30 to 6:30 pm, but they often make you stay till 2 am. We work 150 hours overtime per month, paid at single rate. If you leave, they pay 800 to 900 Rs less than they would have to.

http://www.kellysearch.co.in/in-company-350517348.html

Richa Global Worker
(232 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
In the finishing department 80 workers are hired through A.K. Fashiontech contractor. They are made to sign that they receive 4,044 Rs monthly wage, in fact they get 3,600 Rs. For ESI and PF another 570 Rs is cut from the 3,600 Rs. ESI cards are issued for 8 to 10 workers, but no one receives PF when leaving the job. The factory runs two 12-hours shifts. There is no weekly day off. You work 100 to 150 hours overtime per month, which is paid at single rate.We produce garments for Polo and others. The supervisors swear at us a lot.

http://www.richagroup.com/group.aspx

SS International Worker
(821 Udyog Vihar Phase 5)
The helpers get 2,800 Rs, no ESI, no PF. The tailors get 135 to 150 Rs per day. Daily working times from 9:30 am till 1 am. If you leave the job they won’t pay the last 10 to 15 days of outstanding wages. The toilets are dirty.

Taurus Home Furnishing Worker
(418 Udyog Vihar Phase 3)
If you work 9 hours a day, 30 days per month than you are paid 3,000 Rs as a helper and 3,800 to 4,000 as a tailor. We work 150 to 200 hours overtime, payment is less than single rate. If you work till 2 am at night they give you 30 Rs for food, which is hardly enough to fill your stomach. The production of cushions and blankets runs 360 days a year. None of the 250 workers get ESI or PF. The toilets are very dirty.

http://www.asklaila.com/listing/Delhi-NCR/Udyog+Vihar/Taurus+Home+Furnishing+Limited/U9GnXzwU/

*** What Are You/We Doing / Proletarian Autobiography -

A 55 years old worker tells about his life-long attempts to escape from field-work drudgery and to avoid ‘real subsumption’, the direct control of capital. He goes back and forth between village and town, survives on short jobs in factories, business activities like peanut and cigarette selling and self-employed white-washing of other people’s brick-walls.

“The time that I get up in the morning keeps changing. Now that I have started working as a painter and whitewasher again, I get up at 7 o’clock in the morning…

We were eight brothers and sisters. There was little family land, so my father started working as a mason. After having worked for Kanpur for some time, my eldest brother in addition to the work in the fields, also started work as a mason. I did not like school too much, because you had to endure the teachers’ punishment. I can still remember the beating of the teacher’s stick on my back in the 5th grade. So, I stopped going to school then and grazed cows instead.

My father and eldest brother worked in masonry. My two older brothers started working in Faridabad while my younger brother went to school. My sisters were already married at that time. I worked on the field. I ploughed the field with the bullock. I irrigated it with the Persian wooden wheel and bamboo baskets. I made sugar melasse. My uncle would do some of our work and we would do some of his. I would do wage work, but back then you were not paid in cash, but in grain: two to three kilos barley, peas, rice. I had a passion for singing and drama, but my father did not like this…

I was seven years old when I was married. The wedding procession went on foot. My uncle put me on his shoulders and took me along. Eleven years later, my wife was brought to our house. We had a son. I never had money on me. I would have to ask my mother for money. My wife would say one thing or the other…

Constant bickering at home. My wife and my sister-in-law went on and on finding fault with one another. My sister in law ridiculed me – you don’t work, you just wander about. In anger, one thing is said and then another- it gets messy. I remained mired down in anger. I refused to work….

I went to Kanpur to my uncle. They hired me at Victoria Mill to remove the ash from the boilers. After two days, I left the job. After wandering around in Kanpur, I returned to the village. I borrowed 50 Rs and after informing my relatives, I left for Ludhiana. I started working in a work-shop manufacturing parts for bicycles. The wage was 130 Rs a month. At that time one kilo of flour was 60 to 70 Paisa and a quarter litre milk was 50 Paisa. I shared a room with another guy, the rent was 20 Rs. We cooked on a sawdust fire. Our expenses for food and so on was 30 to 40 Rs. I then worked in a workshop for engine parts and finally in a factory producing nuts and bolts. There the wage was 180 Rs…I was able to save 100 Rs a month. The telegram with the news about my mother’s death reached me after an one week delay.

Because of too much quarreling, I left the factory job and I rejoined at the work-shop when news arrived that my brother had died in an accident in Faridabad. I did not understand English and the management at the workshop did not tell me what had happened, they just stuffed me into a car…

I refused to live in the family home. My older brother called me to Faridabad. There I started working as a helper at the furnaces of Orient Steel factory and at the same time ran the paan (betel nut) shop of my brother’s friend. The factory ran on three shifts and after the factory work, I worked four to six hours in the shop. On Sundays I worked sixteen hours in the shop. There was always money in my pockets. One brotherís factory was closed down and in the other brotherís factory, problems were occurring. Because of the shop, I did not stay back to work overtime, making the excuse that my health was bad. The supervisor who had hired me left the job. Two months later, I was forced out of the job.

At the entry gate of Mujesar, I got a paan shop there. I began to sit there every day for 16 hours a day. Claiming that the area was his, a fellow from the village had my shop removed.

I went back to the village for a while, then returned to Faridabad, and got a paan hut in front of Nikkitasha factory in Sector 6. When things became troublesome inside the Escorts plant, the management had decided to open Nikkitasha factory. There was a large population of workers and three buses brought staff from Delhi. Because of this, I used to sell a lot of paan and cigarettes. Then suddenly after about two and a half years, the workers and staff went back to the Escorts plant. My sales dropped to less than a quarter…I moved the hut to Sector 2 in front of Orient Bank, then to Bata Chowk. Tired of it all, I sold the nicely done up hut. I brought my wife and children to live with me in Faridabad.

For two months, I walked around and sold bracelets and stuff which I got on commission from my brother. The profit was 50 per cent per item and you could have a good laugh with the ladies. But small items would also tend to get lost.

I came to the decision to sell vegetables and borrowed 500 Rs from my brother. I bought vegetables and fruits on the market and pushed the trolley through the alleys of the area. You encounter all kinds of people along the way. Together with the vegetable sales I started working on piece-rate in a work-shop doing hand moulding. Around Diwali I also started whitewashing jobs through a contractor. I bought a shack in the slum, sold it, bought another one. The hand moulding requires strength and is rather hot. I was sick of selling vegetables.

I started selling scrap. I walked through the alleys shouting. In order to collect iron, bottles, plastic, copper, alloy I would have to start working at 4 o’clock in the morning. In the morning, the guards sell cheap stuff secretly on the side. I would have to run around till 2 p.m. When the Haryana government banned alcohol drinking, there were less bottles around, then my income went down a lot…

For three months, I worked as a guard at a factory gate in Sector 59. Twelve hours a day, thirty days a month. Because of troubles of sleeping at night, I left the job.

Ten years ago I started whitewashing and painting buildings. I work myself and I also sometimes take two to four workers to work with me. Ten years ago everyone used lime. Today 90 to 100 per cent want their walls painted. To work with lime is not so harmful. Plastic paint is harmful for lungs and eyes. When you scrape the old paint of the wall, chemical dust enters your lungs. The skin on my hands got bad due to the chemicals, The wall paint comes in powder-form and irritates your skin. In the bright sunlight. some of the paints reflect so much that the painter can go blind…

I got myself a ladder on rent and started whitewashing in 2002. The ladder broke – I fell from 18 ft hight. My ankle bones broke in a bad way, I was not able to walk for a year. I lived on savings and the income of one of my boys who started work as an electrician. Then I took another contract for painting and whitewashing… It is because of all the compulsions upon a person that makes a person leave one thing, pick up something else, then make that person wander or return to that same thing.

I am tired of whitewashing. Climbing up, plastering, painting. It is hard, dirty-dusty work and I don’t have the capacity to do it any more…

In 2008, I had started selling cigarettes and peanuts on commission. In March 2009, I started selling juice. But in September 2009, I had to return to whitewashing work. The peanuts did not take off and there is heavy work attached to them – standing around from 8 a.m. till 11 p.m. waiting for customers.

I get angry when my wife asks what I have been doing all day. It’s been 30 years that I have left the village. I left with the desire to earn and build a proper house. What I have now is a slum hut. I have lost my courage… I hope my son will take care of us, that he wonít just push us around.
(Faridabad Majdoor Samachar – New Series No. 259, January 2010)

2) Collective Action -
Reports on proletarian struggles in the area

*** Up-Date on Lock-Out at Denso Car-Parts Factory and on Strike at Groz Tool Factory -

Denso management is equipped with finest armour of modern class warfare: they made use of their plants in Thailand to prepare for the lock-out; they could rely on the local labour department to not interfere in the illegal lock-out and to keep the workers’ representatives entangled in legal scuffles; they were able to hire goons and fresh labour through links with the rural elite; they could rely on the main union burocracy to engage in merely symbolic shows of struggle and solidarity, which kept the young workers bored playing cards in front of a running factory; finally they made use of their financial power and managerial connections with the spiritual management consultant Brahma Kumaris in order to win back heart and minds and shakra of the young workers after a weeks post-lock-out-training in a luxurious local ashram.

Denso,
Sector 3, Plot 3,
Industrial Model Town
Manesar

The workers have been locked out since 17th of February 2010 – see last issue of GurgaonWorkersNews.
On 18th of March they were still sitting in front of the factory while workers hired through contractors still worked and slept inside. The initial idea to write a common letter with locked-out Sanden Vikar workers – a different supplier for Maruti Suzuki based in Faridabad – was at least discussed after exchange of phone numbers. A common letter from workers of suppliers to the Maruti management could showed at least some symbolic unity and could have made a little impression on the Maruti management. Unfortunately the Sanden Vikas workers decided to believe the Labour Officials that the suspended workers will be taken back and they went back inside the factory on 6th of March 2010. More about this conflict in the next issue. AITUC union planned a demonstration for mid-March, union members from 12 different Gurgaon-based companies took part. A worker assumed that the ordered parts from denso plant in Thailand must have run out and that quality problems will occur more frequently. The Denso workers tried to establish some contact to Maruti quality staff, hoping that they will raise quality concerns in their name.
On 22nd of March a Denso worker told us that the company agreed to take 23 out of 36 suspended workers back. The remaining workers are supposed to be taken back after one month, once a ‘peaceful atmosphere’ is established inside the factory. The chances for these workers to get their jobs back is slim. Denso needs the young and skilled work-force, Denso cannot just break them. The management told workers that before entering the factory they will be given one week of training in an scientological ashram near Manesar, to find a peaceful mind…

http://www.brahmakumaris.com/

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/16755105

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahma_Kumaris_World_Spiritual_University

Denso runs many factories around the globe, apart from Asia they have invested heavily in Czech Republic and Poland. While Denso was unable to supply Maruti Suzuki with the full amount of required fuel pumps the Ford subsidiary Visteon – which seems to run a factory not only in Jaipur area, but also in Manesar – started to vamp up production in order to compensate for Denso parts. Interestingly enough both Denso in Poland and Visteon in France are currently facing workers’ unrest. This situation would have allowed direct coordination between struggling work-forces.

Denso Poland
On 25th of March Workers of Denso Thermal Systems Polska protested in front of the FIAT assembly plant in Tychy, Poland. They demanded to get the same wage increase as the other workers employed by the FIAT group. At the Denso plant about 500 workers manufacture washers and cooling aggregates.The management had offered to increase wages by 300 Zloty per month, but the workers were not satisfied with the offer.

Visteon France
On 22nd of March 2010 the 500 workers employed at Visteon factory in Gondecourt started an unlimited strike for 5 per cent wage increase and against the threat of 250 redundancies by 2013, which the management had announced. On 25th of March the strike ended with a 2.9 per cent increase plus bonus payment. If you want to get in touch with the workers at Gondecourt:
ce.visteon@voila.fr.

While the struggle at Denso is finished off with repression and abdomenable breathing techniques, workers at nearby Groz company sit outside their factory after suspension of 16 union reps…

Groz Engineering Tools Pvt. Ltd.
Village Kherki Daula, 41st Milestone
Delhi – Jaipur Highway
Gurgaon

Groz manufactures metal machine tools for export to countries all over the world. The only local company getting parts is JCB. The Groz factory was opned in 2003. Groz runs another factory in Chennai, under the name of Acurate Products Ltd.It currently employs 225 permanent workers earning around 7,000 to 8,000 Rs per month and 500 workers hired through contractor earning the minimum wage. The factory runs machines and assembly lines.
On 10th of March 2010 a worker hired through contractor had an argument with a HR manager S.S.Sindhu and was sacked. All workers reacted in response. The General Secretary of the HMS union got involved and subsequently suspended together with 16 other workers. Workers were attacked by company goons. HMS is not yet registered at Groz, the application process runs since six month. In reaction to the suspension all permanent and all workers hired through contractors decided to go on strike and sit outside the factory. before the incident the production was running well, workers were not working overtime, mainly because Groz only pays at single rate. The company has not issued any lock-out paper, but hired around 200 new people. They produce together with company staff, but production rate is low. Some negotiations with the Labour Office started, but management refuses to take the suspended workers back. Groz workers have little contact with nearby locked-out Denso workers. Some demonstration might take place after consultation with HMS leaders. Please feel free to send an email to HR department:
yogesh.sharma@groz-tools.com
http://www.groz-tools.com

After the news about the lock-out at Denso we received following article about a planned lock-out at car parts manufacturer Bosch. A new strategy which is able to undermine the lock-out policy has to be discussed.

Bosch
Bosch threatens second lockout as workers remain adamant
11th of March 2010
Automotive components major Bosch Ltd Thursday threatened to declare lockout at its main plant in the city as its agitated workers remained adamant over wage revision and healthcare benefits.
Mico Karmika Sangha (Mico Trade Union) general secretary K.N. Umesh:
“In mid-March 2010 the company declared lockout unilaterally at Naganathapura facility where about 1,000 people are employed without serving the mandatory notice to us. Now it is threatening to close the Audugodi plant where about 2,400 people are working”.
After final round of talks failed last month, the workforce at both the plants have been on a go-slow agitation since 12th of February 2010, demanding an average Rs.15,000 hike in their wages per month in view of the rising inflation and high cost of living in an expensive city like Bangalore. The management initially offered a measly Rs.500 hike after the three-year wage accord of 2005 expired by 2008 and raised it up to Rs.2,800 subsequently.
“We were patient and restrained from going on strike or tool down for over 12 months as did not want to disrupt production at a time when the industry was reeling under global recession and slowdown in the Indian economy. When orders picked up during the third and fourth quarter of 2009, our workers exceeded production targets up to 130-140 percent,'”Umesh said.
Noting that production declined by 40 percent this week and sales valued at Rs.120 crore (Rs.1.2 billion) were hit, the company said it was unfortunate the workforce had resorted to go-slow and tool down when the order book was looking up following a revival in the automobile sector during the last three months.
Bosch India manufactures spark plugs, alternators and generator starters for the Indian automotive industry and exports to its parent group firms worldwide.
Of the four major plants in the country, the two Bangalore plants account for 55 percent of the company’s production and sales turnover, which was Rs.4,750 crore (Rs.47.5 billion) in calendar year 2009. The other two plants are at Nashik in Maharasthra and Jaipur in Rajasthan. There is another plant in Manesar, just 5 minutes away from the Denso plant.

3) According to Plan -
General information on the development of the region or on certain company policies

*** Warfare against the Huts, Gated Peace for the Palaces / Note on Slum Raids and Fires in Gurgaon -

In times when land converts into ‘land-banks’ and the price paid to farmers for an acre of agricultural land in Gurgaon/Manesar can be around 4 to 6 crore Rs the question of who can live on it and how becomes a question of life in a mortal atmosphere. The ground price does not have the direct interest to suck out blood and energy of those without land and resources – here we talk about bodies which have to be removed.

15th of March 2010
Local farmers/landowners in Gurgaon and Faridabad area complained about the tandem of state and private developers and the way in which land acquisition is taking place:
Haryana continues to help colonisers acquire land. The petitions filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court suggest the state has been acquiring land before releasing it to the colonisers, following their failure to buy it directly from the landowners. This is not all. In Faridabad district, the state functionaries initiated land acquisition proceedings by issuing a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act. But soon after, they allegedly issued licenses to the colonisers to develop the land – a move objected to by the landowners. They have alleged the state is the facilitating the colonisers by “acquiring the land after the efforts of the developers to purchase the land from the landowners failed to yield any result”

24th of March 2010
A team of Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) and the district administration raided over half a dozen sites where illegal colonies were allegedly being developed, officials said. Nine persons allegedly involved in the unauthorized colony racket were also arrested, they said. MCG Commissioner Rajesh Khullar and Deputy Commissioner Rajender Kataria have ordered to lodge an FIR against those arrested. When Khullar along with other officers raided an illegal colony site at old Delhi road, the persons there tried to escape but they were nabbed by police, an official spokesman said here.

27th of March 2010
At least five dozen jhuggis in Sector 59 in Ballabgarh area were gutted in a fire here today. Although no injuries took place, the jhuggis were gutted engulfing the little belongings of the inmates. The inmates of the jhuggis are migratory labourers and petty workers. According to some of the slum dwellers, the fire broke out in one of the jhuggis and soon spread to others. The wind velocity was high at the time of the incident and this helped the fire to spread faster. The majority of the adult inmates were at work when the incident took place. The slum area has more than 200 jhuggis. These jhuggis are built, partly on the land of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and partly on private land. This is the third time in as many years that fire has broken out in the slums in Sector 59.

30th of March 2010
Two children – son and daughter of a paint-worker – were killed while two other kids suffered serious burns when a major fire gutted over 100 dwellings in a slum settlement in Shalimar Bagh in Northwest Delhi on Tuesday. A case of fire has been registered at the Shalimar Bagh police station against unknown persons.

4) About the Project -
Updates on Gurgaon Workers News

*** Organising Workers Collectivities / Proposal by Faridabad Majdoor Samachar -

Friends of Faridabad Majdoor Samachar (FMS) are opening various places in Faridabad, Okhla and Gurgaon, inviting workers to meet, talk and coordinate practical steps together. They have published a proposal in the current issue of FMS which has been distributed within the industrial areas. Read their proposal in English translation on their web-site.
http://www.faridabadmajdoorsamachar.blogspot.com

*** Glossary -

Updated version of the Glossary: things that you always wanted to know, but could never be bothered to google. Now even in alphabetical order.

AITUC
BPO
CITU
Casual Workers
Contract Workers
Crore
DA
DC
ESI
Exchange Rate
HSIIDC
ITI
Jhuggi
Lakh (see Crore)
Lay off
Minimum Wage
Panchayat
PF
Ration Card
SP
Staff
Trainees
VRS
Wages and Prices
Workers hired through contractors

AITUC
The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) is the oldest trade union federation in India and one of the five largest. It was founded in 1919 and until 1945, when unions became organised along party lines, it was the central trade union organisation in India. Since then it has been affiliated with the Communist Party of India.

BPO
Business Process Outsourcing: for example of call centre work, market research, sales.

CITU
Centre of Indian Trade Unions, a national central trade union federation in India. Politically attached to CPI(M), Communist Party of India (Marxist). Founded in 1970, membership of 2.8 million.

Casual Workers
Workers hired by the company for a limited period of time.

Contract Workers
Workers hired for a specific performance, paid for the performance.

Crore
1 Crore = 10,000,000
1 Lakh = 100,000

DA (Dearness Allowance):
An inflation compensation. Each three to six months the state government checks the general price development and accordingly pays an allowance on top of wages.

DC
Deputy Commissioner, Head of the District Administration.

ESI (Employee’s State Insurance):
Introduced in 1948, meant to secure employee in case of illness, long-term sickness, industrial accidents and to provide medical facilities (ESI Hospitals) to insured people. Officially the law is applicable to factories employing 10 or more people. Employers have to contribute 4.75 percent of the wage paid to the worker, the employee 1.75 percent of their wage. Officially casual workers or workers hired through contractors who work in the factory (even if it is for construction, maintenance or cleaning work on the premises) are entitled to ESI, as well. Self-employment is often used to undermine ESI payment.

Exchange Rate:
1 US-Dollar = 43 Rs (July 2008)
1 Euro = 68 Rs (July 2008)

HSIIDC
Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation

ITI
Industrial training, e.g. as electrician or mechanic. Two years of (technical school), one year of apprentice-ship in a company. During the two years at school the young workers receive no money, but they have to pay school fees. A lot of the bigger companies ask for ITI qualification.

Jhuggi
Slum Hut

Lakh
see Crore

Lay off
Lay off in the Indian context means that workers have to mark attendance, but they actually do not work and receive only half of the wage.

Minimum Wage:
Official minimum wage in Haryana in June 2007 is 3,510 Rs per month for an unskilled worker, based on an 8-hour day and 4 days off per month. But hardly any workers get this wage.

Panchayat
A locally elected village administrative body in charge of village-level issues.

PF (Employee’s Provident Fund):
Introduced in 1952, meant to provide a pension to workers. Officially applicable to all companies employing more than 20 people. Official retirement age is 58 years. Given that most of the casual workers belong to the regular workforce of a factory, they are entitled to the Provident Fund, as well. So are workers employed by contractors. If workers receive neither PF nor ESI they also do not show up in the official documents, meaning that officially they do not exist.

Ration Card
Officially the so called ‘governmental fair price shops’ are shops were ‘officially poor’ people can buy basic items (wheat, rice, kerosene etc.) for fixed and allegedly lower prices. In order to be able to buy in the shops you need a ration card. The ration card is also necessary as a proof of residency, but in order to obtain the ration card you have to proof your residency. Catch 22. Local politics use the ration depots and cards as a power tool that reaches far into the working class communities. Depot holders’ jobs are normally in the hands of local political leaders. In return they receive this privileged position, which often enable them to make money on the side.

SP
Superintendent of Police, Head of the District Police.

Staff
In India staff includes managers, supervisors, security personnel and white-collar workers.

Trainees
In general trainees work as normal production workers, they might have a six-month up to two-year contract. Depending on the company they are promised permanent employment after passing the trainee period. Their wages are often only slightly higher than those of workers hired through contractors.

VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme):
Often a rather involuntary scheme to get rid of permanent workers. Particularly the VRS at Maruti in Gurgaon made this clear, when 35 year olds were sent in early retirement.

Wages and Prices:
When we hear that a cleaner in a call centre in Gurgaon, an industrial worker in Faridabad or a rikshaw-driver in Delhi earns 2,000 Rs for a 70 hour week, which is about the average normal worker’s wage, we have to bear in mind that they often came from West Bengal, Bihar or other remote place in order to get this job. In order to put 2,000 Rs into a daily context here are some prices of goods and services – based on Summer 2006 prices:

Housing:
– Monthly rent for a plastic-tarpaulin hut shared by two people in Gurgaon: 800 Rs
– Monthly rent for a small room in Gurgaon (without kitchen), toilet and bathroom shared by five families: 1,300 Rs
– Monthly rent for a small room in a new building in central Gurgaon, single toilet and bathroom: 4,500 Rs to 8,000 Rs

Food:
– Half a kilo red lentils on the local market: 25 Rs
– Kilo rice on local market: 14 Rs
– 1 Kilo Onions and 1 Kilo carrots on local market: 25 to 30 Rs
– McChicken: 40 Rs
– Bottle (0,7l) of beer at Haryana Wine and Beer shop: 50 to 70 Rs
– Cigarettes (10), cheapest local brand: 25 Rs
– Starbucks Coffee (Latte Medium) in Shopping Mall: 59 Rs

Utensils:
– Faulty shirt on Faridabad local market: 40 Rs
– Single gas cooker plus new 2 litre gas cylinder: 720 Rs
– Re-fill gas (2 litres – once every month and a half): 100Rs
– Second-hand bicycle: 600 to 1,000 Rs
– Two simple steel pots: 250 Rs

Transport and Communication:
– Bus ticket to nearest bigger bus stop in South Delhi: 14 Rs
– Daily Newspaper: 3 Rs
– One hour internet in a cafe: 20 Rs
– Cinema (new) ticket Saturday night: 160 Rs
– Single entry for swimming pool: 100 Rs
– One litre Diesel: 30 Rs
– Driving license in Haryana: 2,000 to 2,500 Rs
– Start package pre-paid mobile phone (without the phone) 300 Rs
– Phone call to other mobile phones: 1 Rs
– One month mobile phone flat rate: 1,500 Rs

Luxuries:
– Minimum dowry poor workers have to pay for the marriage of their daughter: about 30,000 Rs (80,000 Rs more likely)
– Money given to poor labourers for their kidney: about 40,000 Rs
– Compaq Laptop: 50,000 Rs
– Flight Delhi to London: 28,000 Rs
– Cheapest Hero Honda motorbike (150 cc): around 40,000 Rs
– Ford Fiesta: 587,000 Rs
– Four hours on Gurgaon golf course: 800 Rs (info from golf course worker earning 2,400 Rs monthly)
– Two-Bedroom Apartment in Gurgaon: 10,000,000 to 50,000,000 Rs

Workers hired through contractors
Similar to temporary workers, meaning that they work (often for long periods) in one company but are officially employed by a contractor from whom they also receive their wages. Are supposed to be made permanent after 240 days of continuous employment in the company, according to the law. A lot of companies only have a licence for employing workers in auxiliary departments, such as canteen or cleaning. Companies usually find ways to get around these legal restrictions, e.g., workers services are terminated on the 239th day to avoid workers reaching eligibility criteria to become permanent. In many industries contract workers account for 60 to 80 per cent of the work force, their wage is 1/4 to 1/6 of the permanents’ wage.

6 Responses to “GurgaonWorkersNews no.9/24”


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