Honda's contractual staff on a dharna inside company's premise.Image Courtesy - AICWU Facebook Page
The Honda management at Manesar has decided to take a legal route to weaken the agitation of the workers. After failing to get to a consensus with the striking workers, the Honda management has moved the district civil court seeking a stay order on the strike.
As per the reports, the management wants the workers to be evicted from the Manesar facility, in addition to which, the management has also asked for further police protection.
The tool-down strike by nearly 4,500 workers—2,500 contractual and 1,900 permanent—at the Manesar plant of the Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) reached 14th day on Monday. Currently, well over 1,500 of them are sitting on a dharna inside the plant, NewsClick has learnt. Their demands include fair compensation to the retrenched workers and regularisation of all who have been working for more than 10 years.
The management, in its suit, has named 16 workers, which, according to the union, is “witch-hunting” of the workers leading the strike.
“Instead of reaching an agreement, the management has moved court to generate fear among the striking workers,” said Suresh Gaur, president of HMSI Employees’ Union, while speaking to NewsClick. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled to be on November 19.
The contractual staff at Honda’s Manesar facility have been demonstrating against the management since November 5. A day earlier, around 200 contract workers were “relieved form their work”, owing to “demand fluctuations and production adjustment”. The permanent employees joined the demonstration on November 7 after the management decided to shut the plant for an indefinite period.
The automobile industry has been plagued with a prolonged slowdown. A decline in the sales in the Indian two-wheeler market, of which Honda is a leading player, has been registered for the seventh month in a row this year. Recurrent retrenchments of the contractual staff, as a measure to bring down the costs, is the reason behind the labour stir.
“The company retrenched 700 contractual workers in the month August, saying that they will be called back in the month of November. When November came, forget about the reinstatement of their contract, another 200 were asked to leave, out of which, many were those whose contract period lasted up to March 2020,” Shyam of Automobile Industry Contract Workers’ Union (AICWU) told NewsClick. “This pattern of cutting down labour panicked the contractual staff who are now fighting for their rights.”
According to Shyam, almost all the plants in the Gurugram-Manesar belt have followed this tradition of passing the brunt over to the labourers in the period of economic slowdown.
“As a reaction, many more demonstrations will be observed in the future when the contractual workers will be taking the lead,” he added.
NewsClick tried reaching Honda’s company secretary Sanjeev Kumar Chaubey and Manesar division head of general affairs, Naveen Sharma. Both declined to comment on the issue.
Another meeting is to be convened by the state’s Labour Department between the two parties, which is scheduled on November 19 in Chandigarh, a person in the know told NewsClick.
Also read: Honda Moves Production From Manesar To Other Plants, But What About Striking Workers?
Update: The contractual workers at Honda Manesar’s facility have left the premises. On Monday, following assurances by the leaders of Trade Union Council – which comprises representations from central trade unions, namely CITU and AITUC – the workers decided to come out of the plant. A meeting had been scheduled soon after between the management and the union leaders in the presence of District Labour Commissioner. The workers are continuing with their demonstration in front of the companies premises.