Workers’ Protest in Royal Enfield Plant in Tamilnadu Enters 50th Day
The ongoing protest of the Royal Enfield workers at Orgadam- an auto hub in the outskirts of Chennai, Tamil Ndau, has entered to 50th day on Monday. The Royal Enfield workers have been striking since September 24.
In April this year, the workers in the plant came together to form a union, Royal Enfield Employees Union which is affiliated to Working People Trade Union Council ( WPTUC). Following that, in July, the union had given a charter of demands including an increase in wage to the management requesting legally mandated bonus as per the payment of Bonus Act. Since there was no response from the management, a strike notice was served on August 13 to inform that the workers would be striking. Even then, the management kept mum. In between the labour Commissioner, had initiated a meeting with management and workers. The management, however, did not turn up for the meeting. Following that, nearly 3000 workers in the plant have decided to go on strike.
The strike in Royal Enfield plant is part of a spreading wave of workers’ struggles across the state and country. Like in Royal Enfield, similar issues have been brewing in the industries across the state. Workers from Yamaha plant and Myoung Shin Automotive India Pvt. Ltd (MSI) plant have also been raising their concerns for a while now. Apart from these, similar issues have been prevailing in Pricol, Hyundai, Sanmina and Myunghwa and other factories across the state.
“Though the workers have earlier decided to encircle the Tamil Nadu Secretariat on November 12 raising the issues, it has been postponed since the last negotiation talk was hopeful,” said Kannan Sounderrajan of CITU, who is leading the protest in Yamaha plant.
On November 9, Kanchipuram District Administration conducted talks with the representatives of the Yamaha workers and management. “The district administration made it clear that the company representatives had sought time till November 14 to get the approval of the company’s top level management for the demand which have been put forth by us on behalf of the workers,” said Sounderrajan.
If the management fails to meet the demands within the due date, then the workers would proceed with the gherao call, he added.
The issues in the Yamaha’s Kanchipuram plant have started since the formation the employees’ union which is affiliated to CITU. The management was reportedly unhappy with the formation of the union and that eventually led to the termination of two workers who initiated to organise the workers.
On September 20 evening, the workers from Yamaha plant gad gathered for a meeting in the presence of officials from the state Labour Welfare Board to discuss the welfare policies. While the management had refused to be the part of the meeting and terminated two workers- Rajamanikandan and Prakash with out serving any notice regarding the same.
On the very next day, when the workers had report for the work, they were not able to access the attendance system and then only they got to know about the termination. Soon after, about 700 workers came together and started sit-in protest demanding the reinstatement of the terminated workers.
While the MSI workers have started their strike since September 6 demanding recognition of the newly formed union which is affiliated to CITU and a negotiated wage agreement.
So far, the ongoing struggles have seen an amazing solidarity of workers across the state. On September 28, workers from Pricol, Hyundai, Sanmina and Myunghwa and other factories across the state had come together in solidarity with the workers in Yamaha, MSI and Royal Enfield, wherein 40 were arrested and remanded later.
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