After observing no production for the past 18 days, the gates of the Honda plant in Manesar opened on Monday for the permanent workers. Nearly 290 permanent workers marked their presence inside the production facility, though only after signing the ‘Good Work/Conduct Undertaking’.
On November 22, the Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) management issued a notice saying that the permanent workers will be called in four different batches starting from November 25. The notice finds no mention of the rejoining of the contractual staff—workers who were leading the demonstration since November 5.
The notice of the Honda management came at a time when the entire Honda workforce—2,500 contractual and 1,900 permanent—were up in arms against the management’s ‘illegal retrenchments’.
Though the permanent staff agreed to enter the facility, tensions continue to prevail among the contract workers who continued with their dharna in front of the company’s premises on Monday as well.
For the past 21 days, the workers were protesting inside the plant against the retrenchments of the contractual staff. Around 700 contract workers were laid off earlier in August and another 200 were retrenched on November 5, which led to the labour stir.
Numerous conciliation meetings—one even in the presence of state’s labour minister—took place. However, none was able to bring a consensus between the management and the protesting workers.
Things went worse for the contract workers, when the management stopped even showing up at the conciliation meetings, which was after the workers evicted the plant on the 14th day of the strike.
“There is a sense of disappointment among the contract workers,” said Shyam Murti of Automobile Industry Contract Workers’ Union (AICWU), “evicting the plant only made it easy for the company to resume the production without resolving the issue.”
In addition to this, the suspension of the six union leaders, including the general secretary and the president of the HMSI Employees’ Union, continues. The leaders were suspended on Saturday in a move which the union members have called “retributive in nature”.
Amidst all this, Trade Union Council (TUC)—a joint body which comprises of Central Trade Unions, namely, CITU and AITUC—have called for a rally on November 27 in a bid to raise issues concerning the contract workers in the Gurugram-Manesar belt, which were further amplified during the ongoing economic crisis.