Manesar: Dispute Between Workers and Bellsonica Management Continues, 10 More Workers Suspended
Image Courtesy: Facebook
The tussle between the workers' union and the management at the Manesar plant of auto manufacturing company Bellsonica has taken a new turn after the latter suspended three union members indefinitely.
The union stated that these three members were part of the permanent workforce and alleged that management had unfairly held them responsible for "obstructing" the plant.
The management further suspended 10 more workers on March 30. The workers are furious with the suspension and a chargesheet against some of their peers. The union says that on March 30, the workers staged a two-hour-long tools-down protest against the continuous crackdown by the management, which “infuriated the Bellsonica management so much that it suspended 10 more workers” until further orders.
The union observed a similar protest on March 1.
The union claims, "Due to continuous provocation, chargesheets were issued to two workers on March 28 and two union office bearers on March 29. While earlier on March 17, three union leaders were suspended. Apart from this, an atmosphere of unrest is being created inside the company premises by continuously deploying anarchic elements and bouncers by the management. Despite the union's written complaint against these lawless elements and continuous information given to the management, they remained in the company. Due to all this, work was stopped from 7 am on March 30. However, it was only symbolic as the workers resumed their work two hours later."
The union alleges that bouncers threatened the workers after their protested against the dismissal of their colleagues who had been working for over 15 years.
"The tools-down protest was done against these threats. The management has shown its intent by suspending 10 more workers till further orders."
WHAT IS THE WHOLE ISSUE?
The dispute between workers and management at Bellsonica is not new. The company manufactures for Maruti Suzuki as a vendor.
As NewsClick reported earlier, since the beginning of 2021, there have been several instances of conflict between workers and management at the Manesar plant. One such example was witnessed when the management filed a chargesheet against 33 workers, accusing them of using forged documents to secure (permanent) jobs.
After this, there was a big controversy when the union gave the union membership to a contract worker. The union says that the management could not tolerate this and termed it completely illegal. In the same matter, the management also wrote a letter to the Haryana Labuor Department, urging it to disqualify the union's position. The issue is still under process.
Speaking to NewsClick, Mohinder Kapoor, former president of the Bellsonica Employees' Union, who was suspended, said that the company wanted to remove the union leaders from the beginning and is doing the same.
Kapur says, "The management is continuously taking provocative actions. On the one hand, the labour department is negotiating a settlement between the workers' union and the management. On the other hand, by suspending workers in such a manner, the management is showing that it does not want a solution. The Labour department officials had asked both parties to maintain peace in the last talks on March 20; even after this, the management chargesheeted the workers on March 28 and 29. Apart from this, the company has allowed chaotic elements on the premises. And the police force is deployed. The company has hired bouncers who are threatening the workers."
Kapoor alleged, "The management is following the same strategy as Maruti, inciting the workers to take unnecessary action."
Newsclick tried to contact Mrityunjay Nath Sahu, Vice President and HR, Bellsonica, to know their side of the matter, but he refused to talk over the phone.
Speaking on the plight of the workers, Ajit Singh, another sacked union member, alleged that the Bellsonica management was "specifically targeting the complete elimination of the permanent workforce".
Singh told Newsclick, "Despite the labour department's direction to maintain the present status quo between the union and the workers, the suspension of the union leaders shows that the management has no respect for the constitutionally defined labour laws."
SUPPORT FROM OTHER UNIONS
Other unions have supported this struggle of Bellsonica workers at different times, including the central trade unions and independent unions.
After the recent developments, the Automobile Industry Contract Workers Union (AICWU) issued a statement in support of the workers, saying, "Keeping the interests of the workers at the centre and relying on class unity, the Bellsonica Union should organise an emergency meeting without delay. Irrespective of how many unions, organisations and people will come together for this common struggle, they should give a call for it immediately. Even a good small start can take the struggle forward."
AICQU said there had been many such movements in Manesar in which the management had to step back; for instance, the agitation against Honda in 2007 and against Rico in 2009, when more than one lakh workers took to the streets.
It further says, "This struggle is not only of Bellsonica. All these issues are from mother to vendor company and big to small companies. Therefore, today these problems must be fought unitedly."
In its statement, AICWU demanded that the suspended workers be reinstated, and the bouncers and anti-social elements be thrown out of the factory premises. The statement also demanded that chargesheets against union members and office bearers be cancelled.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.