The indefinite strike by 300 permanent workers of Tamil Nadu’s Motherson Automotive Factory has reached 86th day. With no relief still in sight, the workers, on Monday, gheraoed labour commissioner’s office in a bid to record their protest against the district’s Labour Department.
The jaded workers say that the department has not taken any action on the complaints that have been raised against the factory management.
The permanent workers in Tamil Nadu’s Pondur village have been on a strike since August 26. Their demands include seeking recognition of the union, rehiring of all the employees under the permanent category with no disciplinary action against the protesting employees and a wage agreement.
On Monday, the anger of the workers shifted to the state machinery which has turned a blind eye to the labour stir caused at the Motherson’s facility. The permanent workers demanded that the department expedite the conciliating processes, as the workers are starting to bear the brunt of not working for days now.
On the other hand, the management of the Motherson Automotive Technologies & Engineering (MATE)—one of the largest auto component manufacturers in India—seems less concerned to get to any consensus as the production has continued despite the strike, thanks to the army of contract workers from distant states like Odisha and Andhra Pradesh employed by the management. These individuals often belong to economically weaker backgrounds, who are now facing the same exploitation by the management that earlier forced the permanent labourers to unionise, NewsClick has reported.
All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) National President S. Kumaraswamy told Newsclick about how the tensions have grown on ground and the inaction of the administration has added to the striking workers’ stress.
“Rallies were carried out, dharnas were staged; however, the state doesn’t see the plight of the workers,” he said.
The AICCTU-affiliated union was formed on July 28 this year to initiate dialogue on worker’s grievances—which included poor quality of food and wage-related issues—with the Motherson management. The management, however, on July 30 denied access to the workers who joined the unions. Finally, the workers served a strike notice.
The management rejected all the demands of the workers and further, as a part of disciplinary action against the union, 25 permanent workers were suspended—most of them being the union leaders.