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Asahi Workers’ Struggle Ends in Victory, Management Agrees to Meet Demands

The protest, which ended on June 20, had been ongoing for 87 days against the illegal suspension of workers’ leaders.
Asahi Workers’ Protest

The 87-day long protest by workers from Asahi India Glass Limited near Chennai concluded on Thursday, June 20, after the management agreed to meet the workers’ demands. The struggle was under the banner of Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

The decision of ending the strike was made after the conciliatory meeting held by the district collector and the labour commissioner. As per the negotiated terms, six suspended people will be taken back at work. The show cause notices issued by the management will also be cancelled. The issue of the dismissal of 28 other employees will be discussed and finalised within six months. Other demands on wages will also be discussed and finalised during this time, said Kannan Soundararajan of CITU who has been at the forefront of this struggle.

The long battle started on March 25, against the victimisation of union workers by management. The Japanese multinational giant started taking vindictive action against the workers after they started organising. The company was running on the strength of their contractual employees who have been working there since the beginning. The unionisation was intended to organise workers to negotiate wage revision and permanency for the contractual workers.

Also read: Chennai Asahi Glass Workers Put Up Spirited Struggle Against Management’s High-handedness

The termination of 28 workers came in the backdrop of a public gathering which asked the management to recognise the workers who have been working there for more than ten years. Over 15 workers were suspended and more than 100 received notices. When the workers moved legally against this under the United Labour Federation (ULF) in 2017, the management promised them that they will conduct an enquiry and then reinstate the suspended workers. Instead, 28 workers were terminated on October 11, 2018.

Following this, the remaining workers started receiving severe harassment from the hands of management. Leaves were denied and overtime was not given for the extra hours put in by the workers.

The workers then joined hands with CITU and put forth a charter of demands in January 2019, after which the struggle was begun on March 25. The striking workers started rejoining their departments on Friday and the company’s production is resuming.

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