Wednesday, December 30, 2009


(New Series No. 258, December 2009)

A late letter from London. I started working for a temp agency which hires street sweepers, waste loaders, street sweep-truck drivers. I work on a street sweeping truck, I sweep stuff from the pavement into the vacuum-brush of the truck.

When they hire people at the agency they say that you might get a public sector contract, a direct contract with the council. Then you might earn 18,000 to 20,000 pounds a year as a street sweeper. We get less than the minimum wage, about 5.50 Pounds per hour. This is about 750 Pounds per month if you work eight hours a day, five days a week, this would be 9,000 Pounds per year – less than half of the council workers pay. At the agency they tell you that you will get working clothes after six months, but the workers I talked to worked as agency workers since two or three years and they still did not have working clothes. For most single rooms in London you pay 80 to 100 Pounds a week– meaning that you can just ‘survive’ on the minimum wage – live in a room and eat basic.

A lot of guys work seven days a week, some work double shifts. The Polish truck driver I worked with yesterday takes speed (drugs), he worked 72 hours this week. London is based on this low wage maintenance work. The unemployment is high, entry wages are low, criminality is high. This creates quite a lot of pressure on people. And absurdities: I need a cycle to go to work, because buses and metro-trains are expensive. I bought a second-hand cycle for 50 pounds, the cheapest you get, I guess it has been stolen and then sold by someone who tries to survive – then I bought it. I get a cheap cycle, but I have to leave the cycle in the open at a bus stop – I would have to spend 100 pounds on a good lock in order to feel safe and sure that it is still there after work. On the main street we sweep five young guys were shot last month – gang war, poverty crime. In the estate where I live a group of young guys sweep the streets at weekends. They are supervised by an officer. They wear vests saying ‘Community Pay Back’ – a kind of chain gang. They have been caught committing poverty crime, and now they have to sweep. On our vests it says: For a cleaner Borough. The wages are too low to meet urban desires.

The truck driver I normally work with is from Algeria. He has to drive the truck through very busy London traffic, he has to operate the mechanical brushes and vacuum cleaning device at the same time. At the same time he is on the mobile phone talking to friends he has no time to see. I prefer walking down the streets sweeping – you have more time to think. Because you normally only sweep your own rooms it feels a bit like you extend your home into London city centre. Walking leaves more time to observe. Beggars in London normally sit next to cash-machines of banks. As a cleaner you feel a bit like a ‘city worker’, you can connect more easily with post workers or other people working in the open. People often ask you for the way. I don’t have to walk too much, the routes are quite short, may be seven miles in total. Sometimes we have to work on the truck, change the mechanical brushes etc., but that does not take long. We can finish our round in four hours. We wait somewhere sitting in the truck for an hour. I leave work after six hours, but get eight hours paid. The truck driver cannot do this, he has to return the truck – chained to the machine. All sweepers leave early. This makes the job o.k. The ‘productivity’ is the councils main target.

We had a meeting with the management yesterday, about 30 sweepers. They have a investigation team running around to score the cleanliness. We had 4 per cent litter, which is a good score. But the manager is not happy with people leaving the job early. He said that last month 50 per cent of the people were seen leaving the job early. He first talks about the productivity bonus (this is only for the permanent workers) – which is nine per cent of the wage. He threatens to cut the bonus if people continue to leave early. He then also talks about disciplinary measures. I was afraid that the truck driver would be scared after this talk, but they are used to management talk. This day of the meeting I left even earlier then usual. Even the recruitment agency knows that people leave early and they try to sell you the job as a good job because of that.

There is ‘first world’ and ‘third world’ close together: the sweeping trucks are highly equipped with technology, cameras etc. They must cost more than 500,000 pounds. The license to drive it costs about 800 Pounds on top of the normal driving license, which is 1,500 Pounds. High-tech for long hours of work. This is the ‘first world’. Early in the morning at around 4:30 the ‘third world’ arrives at the depot: workers who have no contract, but who are on stand-by. They wait and see if a worker with a contract does not turn up for work, then they can get a day job. If not, they have to go home again. Today I met one of them, he worked double shift, as well.

In Leeds yesterday an 11 weeks strike of bin men and street cleaners finished. The council had threatened to cut annual wages by 5,000 Pounds. The strike was bitter, glued depot locks, the council hired 100 temp workers, 950 had applied for the ‘scab-jobs’, some violence at the picket. In the end the wage cuts are not as bad, but the union agreed to a ‘productivity scheme’. The council wanted to enforce an average time of 13 seconds for getting the bin from the street, emptying it into the truck and returning it. In Brighton they have abolished bins for each household, people have to walk down the street to bring the waste to a huge container themselves – this is then emptied with the accumulated rubbish of 80 houses. Under the impact of the crisis there is a wider productivity drive: our friend was on strike in the Post Office, they want to introduce new sorting machines. In the supermarket Tesco, people scan their items themselves and pay at machines, no cashier worker necessary, one cashier supervises five machines and helps people to check out their shopping themselves. More unemployment, more pressure on wages, more crime…

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Under the Blogroll, we have added these links:

China Study Group
*news posted about workers in China

Collective Action Notes
*some English translations of FMS's first page from 2003-2004 can be found here

Faridabad Workers News
*here you can find video footage about the condition of workers in the national capital region (Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad)

Gurgaon Workers News
*updates on workers in Gurgaon, Haryana

Kamunist Kranti
*here you can find Questions for Alternatives, Ballad Against Work, Marx's Critique of Political Economy, and Self-Activity of Wage Workers

Subcontinental Upheaval
*monthly discussion and working group out of London

Towards Autonomous Transformations: FMS

*a description of our work

Sunday, December 13, 2009


(New Series 257, November 2009)

In an effort to clarify some questions, we’ll discuss only the factories. 70 to 75% workers working in factories in Faridabad, Okhla (Delhi), Gurgaon are ‘invisible.’ ¾ of workers working in the factories are not in the factories according to the factory and gov’t documents and records. This is the meaning of ‘there is no ESI.’ (ESI stands for Employee State Insurance which is legally compulsory for every factory worker. Where ESI does not exist, the worker does not exist in the factory records. To Provide ESI 1.75% of wages are deducted and the company contributes approximately 4.75%.) 80 to 85% of factory workers are not given the statutory minimum wages set by the governments of Delhi and Haryana. In factories, 12 hours work every day is common. And 98 to 99% “extra time” alias over time is not shown and the payment is at single rate instead of double rate. Conditions in other areas under the control of the gov’t of India is not different than the above. Here on August 15, 1847, the government gained independence from providing residence to factory workers.

Based on conversations with a permanent worker, Rico Auto Industries, 38 kilometer Delhi-Jaipur National Highway, Gurgaon:

It’s a big factory. After casting in iron and aluminum through machining, various parts of vehicles are made. The company has factories in Ludhiana, Dharuheda, Manesar. Rico Auto, Continental Rico, Magna Rico, FCC Rico…In these factories, work of Hero Honda, Maruti-Suzuki, Honda, Ford, General Motors etc is done. Work has to be performed standing and after 8 1/2 hours duty, they force you to keep working. Even on weekly rest day, shift workers have compulsory duty. Payment of overtime is at single rate. They keep increasing the production target and for not completing the production target, they harass us. Wages are said to be 5,500 but really 4,200 are given. Basic wages are low and there are various allowances. Leave Travel Allowance (LAA) money is cut from the wages each month and given at the end of the year when LAA is supposed to be provided by the company. In the canteen, bad food for more money. No arrangement for transport. Despite many efforts, workers get tired of asking but many of the permanent workers also are not given ESI card. In this situation, permanent workers keep quitting jobs and new ones become permanent. ITI & MSC are taken as trainees. Permanent workers are 2,000 to 2,500. Through 2 contractors, as many as 2,500 workers have been hired. I don’t know about their condition…To overcome their difficulty, permanent workers put in 1,000 rupees each, that is 20 lakh rupees collected and joined the union. The big leader of the union converses with the Chief Minister-Prime Minister. In August, things started heating up. On September 21, when the company suspended 16 permanent workers, then no permanent worker entered the factory.

Workers hired through contractors also stayed out. Workers sat at the factory gates all day, even cooking their meals there. Leaders came to give speeches. Company hires new people. Production goes on. Goods enter and leave the factory. Sec. 144 forbids a gathering of 5 or more people at a place. Stay 50 meters away from the gate. Police took away the tents and mats. Arrests and bail. In support of unions in Sunbeam and Rico factories many unions together held a big meeting on September 25th. Normal production continues in other factories of the company. Due to prolonged time and the Diwali festival on the 17th, there were a smaller number of workers at the factory gate. The company organized an attack on October 18th in which a worker died and many were injured. Unions called strikes in 50 factories on October 20, 80-90 thousand workers did not work. Work came to a standstill for three days in the factory. One boss was beaten. Leaders did not allow the National Highway to be blocked. The company gave 5 to 10 lakh rupees to the family of the dead worker. No arrest in the murder case. Though the Labour Department–Chief Minister got negotiations started between the Management and union on Oct. 22nd. The Company restarted production in the factory through new hires on October 23rd. Negotiations are continuing. Leaders are keeping all things to themselves. This time they are not telling anything to the workers because... In 1998, when an attempt was made to form a union, the leader had sold out, we don’t know what is there in the demand notice, what the conditions are…Production is continuing in the factory. Pressure on the company is decreasing…Conversations-negotiations are on. Workers hired through contractors have dispersed. Where can we permanent workers go? Despair, full of rage, enraged. This week something is bound to…Union has started a relay-hunger strike from November 2nd.

*In eastern Uttar Pradesh in Bargadwa Industrial Area of Gorakhpur. On June 15, 600 workers of Ankur Udyog stopped work for statutory minimum wages etc. For the same thing, 300 workers of V.N. Dyers on June 23rd and 300 workers of U.N. Textile Mill stopped work on June 28. After an agreement was reached, work commenced. In these 3 factories on July 13th, Joint Front for the Struggle of Workers Rights was formed in the area. 1,000 workers of modern laminators and modern packaging on August 3rd demanded statutory minimum wages, ESI etc from the Labour Department. 10 rounds of negotiations. After the negotiations of August 21st, the company closed the gates at night to the workers at the gates. After finishing the shift at 10 p.m., workers at the factories also started gathering there. On September 11, hundreds of workers set up camp in the court premises and started cooking food. Gov’t Administration became active and gave assurance of a written agreement. At the Deputy Labour Commissioner’s office, Management explicitly refused to give statutory minimum wages. And the Co. which had been calling it an ‘illegal strike’ on September 13th put up a notice of a lock-out. Workers of many factories demonstrated on September 14th and burnt law books. 10 days assurance, on the fixed day of September 23rd, Gov’t Administration and co. did not appear for negotiations…

Hundreds of workers marched 5 miles to the District Administrator’s office and began preparations for cooking. Agreement on September 24th, workers hired through contractors and 18 other more active workers were refused a job. All the workers blocked the gate. Police, armed police. Agreement. Again not implemented. Hunger strike at District Administrator’s office on October 14th forcibly removed. On October 15th, 4 persons very active in the movement were called for negotiations by the Administration and beaten and sent to jail. All around opposition…Announcement of civil disobedience in Gorakhpur from October 21st. Strike by workers in 5 factories on October 21st. Strike by workers in 5 factories on October 20th and workers of 2 other factories joined the strike the next day. The Administration released the 4 persons who were jailed the night of October 21st…Seeing no other way, workers of modern laminators and modern packaging resigned in mass. And these two factories are closed till beginning of November. Lack of Alternatives…

(Information from Satyam, Katyayani; “Bigul” (69 Baba ke Purva, Paper Mill Road, Nishat Ganj, Lucknow 226006. Sanyukt Majdoor Adhikar Sangharsh Morcha, L.I.G.-II, 414 Vikas Nagar Bargadwaj, Gorakhpur).

Craft, trade, craft and trade unions narrowness has been known since 150 years. Craft-trade unions becoming harmful or dangerous to workers came to be realized in practice 90 years ago. Organizing workers on the basis of factory instead of trade was understood to be a viable alternative. Industrial unions were formed. To increase production on the basis of line system industrial unions soon became a tool to keep workers in control. Between unionized workers and those without unions, big differences in wages and allowances emerged. Extremely small minority of union workers got caught in the encirclement of fear and arrogance. Acceleration in the condition of the majority of workers went from bad to worse.

Automation and especially emerging electronics has made it possible to learn to work in the factory in a very short time. Together with this, the number of workers necessary for production of work decreased very rapidly. Number of unionized workers in the world has shrunk quite a lot.

Here in India, normally in factories only permanent workers are made members by the unions. And in these 20 years, percentage of permanent workers in the factory is between 0 to 10/15% only. Old factories that did not close down and where companies could not succeed in large scale retrenchement are exceptions. An articulate aspect of the reality today in factories here is that 80 to 90% of workers are temporary- casual workers, workers hired through contractors. Social death and social murder of peasants and artisans is pushing tens of millions in the ranks of workers at increasing pace. Large chunk of those who do anything for money has come into existence.

In Gurgaon in these 10 to 15 years, new factories have come up rapidly. Young workers are the overwhelming majority in these factories. At some factories, there are very small numbers, while at others more permanent workers are prominent. The pain that is borne of being a wage worker is also boiling in these young permanent workers. The function of established unions is to make these workers controllable/pliable.

80-90% of workers in the factories are casual workers. Those who work for 2 months here and for 6 months there. Who are not paid even the statutory minimum wages. Such workers are outside the frame of industrial unions…For the creation of a new society, these workers are freed from many types of shackles.

In Gorakhpur, questions regarding new forms of organizations, new methods of struggle are knocking at the door. In Gurgaon, it is not the talked about cases of Honda, Sunbeam, Rico Auto but rather the steps of 2,500 workers hired through pro contractors in Delphi; sudden stoppage of work by 4,500 workers in the spare parts factory of Hero Honda in Gurgaon; stoppage of work by 3,000 workers hired through contractors in Honda Motorcycle and Scooter factory against the Magement union agreement; stoppage of work by Eastern Medikit by casual workers on delay in wage payment…Workers are engaged in searching, making, forming, new paths.

In these conditions, the question before us is what all we should not do; what all we should do; how to go about it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


(New Series No. 176, February 2003)

I am 32 years old. I work in a big company. My job is collecting dues from factories and offices situated in Faridabad and depositing them in the Delhi office. I work 6 days out of the week. I have to go to Delhi 18 to 20 days out of the month and in those days, my duty is from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. On other days, from 9 to 6. My work is such that my body is getting out of shape. During these 4 months, every day I get up at 5:30 in the morning. I drink a lot of water and after going to the toilet, I go for a walk. We five, seven neighbors go for a 4 kilometer long walk and do half an hour exercise. While walking, we have a discussion on some topic. Here and in other places also, I have a lot of difficulty when similar people amongst themselves try to show themselves as superior or important.

We are all working. All are staff members. Some in Purchase, some in Accounts, some in Sales. We don't consider ourselves workers. In our definition, a worker is one who goes on a bicycle, has his lunchbox on his back, and a bidi lit in his mouth. But we all are bothered by more work and low wages. If someone falls ill in the family, then a thousand to fifteen hundred have to be spent and it takes many months to recover from such a blow.

Refreshed by a walk and exercises, I return home by 7:15 a.m. My wife is often asleep till then. We have two children- three and a half and another one and a half years old. I wake my wife up and together we have tea and read the newspaper. Twenty days in the month, I make the morning tea. If the children wake up, then we are able to have tea together and I read the paper alone. I have a bath at 8:30 a.m. and by then the children are usually awake. By placating them, and sometimes leaving the girl child crying, my wife makes breakfast and lunch, I pick up my bag after breakfast, take my son for a quick ride on the scooter and then leave for work at 9.

Collecting dues is a very difficult job. At some places, they put the condition of first getting the machine repaired. At many places, the customer is short of money and makes excuse upon excuse. At many places, the system is so inefficient and clogged, payment is tied up. Everywhere, there is a demand from me for New Year and Diwali festival gifts. And sometimes, there is even a demand for bribes.

From one place to another, throughout the day, I'm busy running around on my scooter. At every place, I have to be a gentleman before entering. These days I have to remove my muffler, remove my gloves, take off my windbreaker etc. It's compulsory to wear a tie but I don't wear it and instead keep it in my bag and only put it on before entering the Delhi office at 6 p.m. We consider the person who wears a tie to have monthly wage of 20,000 rupees. But they only give me 8,000. If they give me 20,000, then I'll accept the punishment of wearing a tie. Tie is the definition of gentleman.

At every place, I have to go through the process of enquiry and an enter myself in the register with my name, address, and work. Meet the dealing clerk in the Account department. If the check is ready, take it, otherwise wait till the next date. Out of 30 places at least 20 offer me tea. In dealing with one customer, it takes 30 to 45 minutes. One, then second, then third...Sometimes, at 1 p.m., or at 2. I have lunch and again that factory-office round. Work is such that I have some flexibility. Therefore, there is some possibility for shifting time depending on my mood or other work. But the pressure of work is such that whether there is desire or not, one has to go to the customer. On average, I go to 30 customers. The need for money smothers my body and soul and the company has also put out the bait of commission.

When I have to go to Delhi, then at 4:30 p.m., I park my scooter at Old Town or Balabgarh and catch the train. Then I take a bus to the company office. There I meet 8,10 people like myself.

Giving a report and listening to the boss about this or that takes an hour or two. I take a bus and then the train back home. I pick up the scooter from the station and reach home at 9, 9:30 pm. Sometimes, the children are asleep, sometimes they are awake. After a wash, have my meal at 10. After dinner, my wife and I used to go for a walk at night but we've stopped this because of the winter. Now we talk about something that occurred in the day and watch t.v. for awhile. When I was a student I used to come from the village to Faridabad to watch films but now in these four years, I have not seen a single film in the hall. I don't feel like it. I am fed up with the job. I want to leave the job but where can I go? We sleep at 11 pm.


I am not yet 35 years old. My husband and elder son both work. I look after the house and also earn some money from stitching and embroidery. Every day I get up at a.m. I have to go out for latrine in the open. It is dark. I fear pigs and dirty men. (Men sit and hide). It's forced on us. I have to prepare for it. After coming back, I fill up water from the public tap. If it is not crowded, it takes twenty minutes, otherwise it takes an hour.

After bringing water, washing the dishes, cleaning the place then I cut the vegetables and grind the spices. I don't use readymade spices. My husband works in Okhla now and he has to catch the 7:40 a.m. train. On one stove, I cook vegetables and on the other I make rotis (bread) after kneading the flour. Sometimes, on the kerosene stove, I have to heat up the water because my two kids have to get ready for school. After the vegetables are ready, I make tea. My husband has to leave home at 7:15 a.m. to catch the train. The children leave at 7:45. In the morning, they have breakfast of roti and vegetables and then drink tea. My husband also takes his rotis. The children come back at 1 p.m. and eat. After I've completed my work then if some tea is left, I drink that or I make another cup. I drink tea but I don't feel like having breakfast. I heat up water and have a bath. Then I wash the dishes, broom the place, fold up the beds. I work very fast but still it is ten to 11 before it's over and if some guests come in it takes more time. Then I take rest for an hour or two.

I again fill up water in the morning from the public tap. I have to collect water three times in a day. Then work for money. I stitch a pajama for ten rupees. An underwear for five. A petticoat for ten rupees. Contractors bring clothes from factories on which I do embroidery at piece rate. It is 4 to 5 p.m. By the time I bring milk and vegetables from the market, it is time to start preparing for dinner. Taking it all into consideration, it means that I cannot take care of my body. There is no time for myself.

My eldest son has night duty for 15 days in the month. Today he has night duty. He has to go at 8 p.m. from the house. I had prepared food by 7 because if he leaves immediately after a meal, then he'll have a stomach. He eats one hour before and takes some rest. At this time, he is also ill. His duty is of 12 hours. From 8 p.m. till 8 a.m. tomorrow, the boy of 17 years old has to stand at a plastic-moulding machine for 12 hours every day. I feel a lot of pain. I wish he didn't have to work but he is forced to. How can I have him sitting idle at home?

By 9:30 p.m., everyone is free and lies down for bed and watches T.V. Sometimes, I am not able to sleep the whole night because of worries. When I've fall ill, I worry about who will do my work as my son and husband go to work and my children go to school. If you take help from someone then one fears the false allegations by neighbors of having a 'loose' character. My daughter is getting older (she is 13) and I keep thinking about her. I have to carry so many burdens, yet have to still keep going. How can I go on? I have not even lived half of my life. My blood-pressure goes down very low and I have very bad thoughts. If I die, what will happen to my children? Now I don't feel like meeting people whereas earlier I used to get-together a lot with people. Now my daughter has become a great support for me.
When I was 12 or 13 years old, I was married. And my husband and I stayed like two friends. Our children respect us. Again and again I try to convince myself that my children will support me. Like others’ children, my sons will not leave for their marriage. The fear of being left alone in old age...I cut down on meals to save some money so that at least their greed for money will make our children look after us in old age.

When I get too tired then I become irritated and think why is this life being given to me? Death is better than this life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


(New Series No. 237, March 2008)

Young Wage Worker: In 6 months, they definitely terminate your job. Many a time, a month passes before one gets work in any place. When 10 days pass of sitting idle, then hopelessness increases. One feels like dying…To commit suicide is a sin. I stop myself from doing so by saying suicide is a sin.

Manager of a factory supplying parts to Maruti, Suzuki car factories: There is more work with power presses. There is no count of fingers getting chopped. In these 2 years, 18 workers’ hands are being cut from the wrist. This is not to be shown in the records therefore treatment is done through private doctors. Seeing all this, I feel a lot of pain. My helplessness causes still more pain to me.

70 years old retired professor: Reading the newspaper early in the morning ruins my mood. How many disgusting things…My conscience says shoot these leaders and officers.

Those who were earlier villagers: Another young man of Mujesar village has recently committed suicide. Villages on whose land the factories of Faridabad stand, large numbers of the residents of these villages are in the grip of addiction. Rent from rooms is the main source of income for many of them. Young people full of arrogance and intoxication won’t even listen to their elders.

20 year old worker: Every day 12 hours. When there is more demand for the goods, then each day it is 16 hours of work. No day off in a week. No day off in a month. It is forced, if you don’t stay for 12-16 hours then there is no job. Payment at hourly rate. Whether it is second hour or 15 hour, the rate is the same. Production is not according to an hourly rate. Initially, for a new piece, if they set a time of 10 minutes then by reducing it, they make it 9, 8, 7, 6 minutes per piece. Then there is plus, minus, deduction if the production is less than what was set…

Lining charge and master constantly reprimand us. Why do we not oppose this? Why do we grapple to achieve the target? Why don’t people think? I get very angry. I feel like blowing away the bosses. I feel like becoming a terrorist.

*We are not happy with what there is. We want change.

-Each one of us goes to great lengths to change one’s conditions. From stretching our body to killing our conscience….What all we don’t do…A few people, one in many, are able to fulfill their desires. But, on looking back, these things which were considered very important are in reality found to be insignificant. All around conditions are going from bad to worse…Our efforts are failing.

-A common understanding is “the system itself is bad.” That solutions for people’s problems cannot be found for each person separately has also become a common understanding. That our condition will only change by transforming society also became a common understanding. And yet it seems that our efforts to transform our society has reached a level of stagnation.

*Discontent from the present used to be expressed prominently in demonstrations, strikes, confrontations with the police, armed revolts. That is a fact that throughout the world in these 100 years, but the success of meeting-strike-revolt has proved to be a failure. In the whole world, factories have been increasing, the number of workers has been increasing, size of the family has been shrinking., women working alongside men has been increasing, hours of wage-work have been increasing, pace of work has been increasing, insecurity is increasing…

Discontent has been increasing. Rage has become explosive. Throughout the world, their expression in meeting-strike-confrontation decreased greatly. Workers, following leaders is not seen often.

*What to do? Where to go?

We are very well aware of the personal importance of our own steps. The practical importance of our coordinations at workplaces and residences is known to all of us. In our opinion, in this extremely difficult environment, it is necessary to think and consider the extensive importance of our own coordinations and steps.

One person participates in many coordinations. Some coordinations of the old type are loosening, breaking but for a person to participate in new coordinations is becoming easier. Conditions have increasingly become such that a bond can easily coordinate with many bonds. These can take us beyond I-department-factory-neighborhood and provide a larger space. With ease, we can create world-wide coordinations.

-Coordinations which are outside of the bounds of practical/pragmatic interests are necessary and it is not difficult to form them. Such coordinations of ours can now and then with ease bring to a stand-still all that is happening. These will provide us with breathing spaces. These will save us from desperation.

-Market and money have forcibly joined the world together. Whereas through our coordinations, we can form bonds of our desire with 5 to 6 billion people in the world. To overcome the present, exchange and experiences and ideas can certainly help one another. These bonds-coordinations will provide momentum to churning that is going on for the creation of a new society in the world.

Demands are: Zestful life, Joy, Happiness, Love, Respect, Contentment

-If we put it this way, then for our own selves, for dear ones what we need is time, time, time. The real poverty of us people who are compelled to slog for 12 to 16 hours is the dearth of time.

-When we are sent back from the gate, given break, forced to sit idle, time becomes a death for us. This time which increases our worries is time forced on us. This time is not our own time.

-In this period of 12 to 16 hours work, continuous holidays for 3-4 days is necessary for merely saving life. 3-4 days of holiday will be able to provide some time for rest, worry-free sleep, get togethers, for some fun.

-Continuous work is causing derangement. Increasing vacancy of factories-offices is a point of departure for a zestful life.

-Coordinating holidays is how flowers of joy bloom.


(New Series Number 206, August 2005)

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter Workers: Plot 1, Sector 3, Manesar. The biggest problem in the factory located in Gurgaon is – work, work, work and work. The factory was set up four years ago and one thing that has been on the rise is production demand and the burden of work. The 'saahabs' (managers) keep the pressure of work up, and if anyone is questioned, then you are told - “You don't have to come on your duty tomorrow. This is how things have to be done. If you can't, then you can leave.”

In this way, one line has been made to produce 2,000 scooters in one day, by work being done in two shifts. Production of motorcycles has reached 750 in one shift – motorcycle production work is an year and a half old. One scooter has to be produced in 25-26 seconds. In this way, production of 1,000 scooters has been fixed for one shift. But if, for some reason, this does not happen, then the B-shift has to make up to meet the 2,000 figure. If, in order to make this extra work possible, production is halted for half an hour during the second shift and then continued, then no overtime is given. If production is still not completed then workers are forced to put in overtime. B-shift ends at 11:15 p.m., and usually one must work till 1-1:30 a.m.. On and off, one has to stay back till 5:30 a.m. to finish the production of 2,000 scooters.

Parts are made on CNC machines, where one worker has to operate two machines at a time. Some parts have to be made in 15 seconds, others in 30, others in 50 seconds, and some heavy parts in up to 2 minutes 10 seconds. In all this time, two machines have to be operated together. There are two shifts on the line, but three shifts for production of parts. Working one shift is so tiring that overtime is impossible, but has to be done or you will be shown the way out of the gate.

Around 90-100 hours of overtime have to be put in every month. The company compensates for overtime with twice the payment, but we workers are very opposed to putting in overtime. Considering the speed at which work is being done, no one will be able to work beyond the age of 35-40 years.

At first glance, at a superficial level, everything is good in the Honda Factory. Any worker (even the one who has come in through a contractor) is given two sets of uniform, one pair of shoes and a cap on the very day he joins. There are 25 buses which transport workers from the home to the factory and back, and if there are few workers then even an Indica or Qualis. There are two canteens and a meal – roti, rice, two vegetables, curd, salad, something sweet – is available for Rs. 6. Every worker is given a coupon of Rs. 200 for tea and snacks every month. It is clean. There is a doctor in the factory at all times, an ambulance, Medi-claim. Permanent workers, trainees and apprentices are all given their payment on the first of every month, and those who work through a contractor are paid through him by the 7th of every month. Trainees and apprentices are brought from far, and they are provided for accommodation for the entire month. Some of the ITI workers brought in by the contractor work for 6,7,8 months and are thereafter sometimes retained as trainees. Trainees are permanently employed once they finish their period of training (one to two years).

Paucity of permanent employment opportunities and the desire for permanent employment post trainee-ship compelled us to bear anything. But after the incident in which a worker was kicked, we increased dialogue amongst ourselves.

Late year, in October, at 11:15 p.m. in the weld-shop, during B-shift, one manager kicked a worker. The next day, during A-shift, workers stopped work at 9:00 AM, to protest against this. When the manager who had kicked the worker apologized, work was resumed – this was at 2:00 p.m.. B-shift workers also stopped work. The manager apologized again and work resumed at 7:30 PM. If work stops in a factory for one day, it amounts to a loss of Rs. 8 crore.

Quarrels increased in the factory. This year, on 6th February, bonds were asked to be signed, and the management was very forceful about this. All the workers left their place of work and assembled in the canteen. No one ate food. No one left when the shift ended. C-shift workers also came and sat in the canteen. Next morning, A-shift workers made there way to the canteen as well, instead of going to work. Workers from all three shifts – 1,200 permanent, 1,600 trainee, 1,000 employed through a contractor and 400 apprentices – were congregated in the canteen. No one ate or drank any tea. The company called police in the factory. The D.C. also reached the factory. There was no leader among us – the company asked for 5 workers from each department to talk with. An agreement was reached by 5-6 in the evening – there would be no suspensions, the bonds which had been signed were returned (workers burned them) and the production would be completed.

Work resumed on the morning of 8th February, after having been stalled for one and a half days. Pay was not deducted for the period for permanent employees and trainees, but workers employed through the contractor lost a day and a half of pay.

In April, the company gave its annual increment to the workers: Permanent employees got a raise of Rs. 2,800-3,500. Trainees got a raise of Rs. 600 (even through the raise in April 2004 was Rs. 750). This meant permanent employees were now earning Rs. 8,500-10,000 per month and trainees, Rs. 5,600. One thousand workers employed through K.C. Enterprises did not get any increment. Their salary remained at Rs. 2,800. They work on production and operate the CNC machines.

Apprentices get Rs. 900 from the government, and Rs. 700 from Honda Company. Like all companies, apprentices are put to production from the first day itself, instead of being trained first. They work all three shifts. Most apprentices are brought in from far off places and Rs. 1,600 do not suffice for them. They get overtime through a calculation on their 1,600, not what other workers would get. Once a machine got spoilt because of an apprentice and because of which the line didn't work the entire day. The apprentice was fired.

Things were stable for a few days. Then, a fork lifter got spoiled and a permanent employee was suspended. Ten days after this, workers refused to eat. The work was heavy, and so workers would drink tea. Trainees, apprentices and workers employed through contractors were involved in this. Despite a lot of pressure, workers employed through the contractor did not eat at the factory. When this continued for a month, the factory gave the worker back his work.

Talk about relief through a union began. Workers would meet at the Devilal Park in Gurgaon at intervals of 15-20 days. Cronies among us would report the proceedings to the company. Some steps to align with registered and bigger unions were taken. The Honda company began to increasingly suspend workers over small matters. It began with workers employed through contractors, and by 26th June, 500 of the 1,000 workers employed through contractors were fired. On 2nd June, to protest against this, B-shift workers left their place of work and went to the administrative building and shouted slogans. Production had stopped for half an hour and was compensated for later. The company fired four permanent employees the following day and suspended 25. In protest, meals were refused and overtime was stopped. Production of scooters fell from 1,000 to 450-500.

On 22nd June, the company put up a notice that trainees whose training period was over would be put to test on 24th June, a Sunday. Those who passed the test and if considered necessary would be employed permanently. This, when till now the company had been employing trainees and there had been no test preceding this. No one appeared for the test on Sunday. By this time the number of suspended workers had increased to 50. On 27th June, when we reached for work, the company asked us to sign certain conditions at the gate. When we refused, the company refused to let us enter the factory. Over 300 staff, 40-50 permanent employees and workers hired through contractors on 27th June itself, entered the factory. Work continued – there were around 2,000 people in the factory. Police was stationed at the gate. Four thousand workers were outside the gate.

The administration was petitioned through the union. A procession. Even came to the Parliament during the 11th July session. But nothing changed. It was in this context that there was a clash with the police on 25th July and we were beaten with sticks.

Following this, claims and announcements on TV, in newspapers and by political leaders made it look like our problems would be solved. But on the instruction of the Central Government, the compromise struck under the aegis of the Chief Minister of Haryana has pushed us into hell. According to this, workers returned the factories on 1st August, and are filled with anger. Everyone is annoyed. Permanent workers are saying that if they had to sign the conditions of Honda company after all, then what was the point of doing all that they did. The 35 trainees who had finished their training are still out of work. The 500 out of 1,000 workers employed through the contractor, who were fired on 26th June have still not been hired back. Those who had been hired through contractors on 27th will remain. The company will not pay us for the period from 27th June to 31st July. Through the deal that has been struck, the workers have been divided.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


(New Series No. 188, February 2004)

11 Years old child: Home-Family is a Jail. Parents sharp-searching eyes are fixated on the child all the time. If parents commit a mistake, the children are punished.

25 Years old adult: Family depends upon its own members' exploitation. Through the interplay of emotional blackmail and toughness- cruelties' dual tactics-families survive in the present. In a society where vast exploitation occurs throughout, family members themselves are very oppressive. The trouble is that parents take the responsibility of molding children seriously but in the same exploitation system at any cost. Whether it is the peasant or workers, today the family is paralyzed. To survive, all most families do is work, work, work, and play tricks. When children grow up, the parents are then engaged in limitless efforts towards marriage. Why? What is the purpose? For exploitation to provide a new family set up, create a new organized unit?

Elderly person: In family, there is increasing unpeacefulness… and more unpeacefulness. No sitting together, no love amongst one another. Living isolated and ignored. There is a sense of extreme burden, responsibility, heavy expense, no respect for any one… Mostly everybody feels inner isolation yet everybody appears integrated in the family. For every one either young or old, the family cycle is a difficult chain. The gradually narrowed family is now scattering. Family says,”I can’t take your burden any more.” To make ends meet, so many persons run away from family. But then outside the family, there is the market. Nowadays to make ends meet, it is very tough in the market. On the one side we are unhappy because of family and on other side because of society. What to do?

*The human species, like other species, has generational relationships which provide continuity. The community has generally constituted society generally through generational relationships which continue to be expressed until now.

* Due to the scattering of community, society is now in a very dangerous situation and there are problems for the human species. Hierarchic, oppressive, exploitative social systems have had a very bad impact on the body and soul of humans.

-- After birth, death is certain. This is natural. Happiness at birth and sadness at death are natural amongst living beings. But in a hierarchic social system, in a divided and split society, the pain of death becomes concentrated. No longer something of collective mourning, the pain becomes unbearable. Death which is natural becomes unacceptable. The obsession to become immortal is born.

-- In the hierarchic social system that emerged with the break-up of the community, men acquired a central role. And men's "I"-ness has became all-engulfing.

-- On the one hand, concepts of soul-rebirth and rejecting death emerged. And on the other, male-centered families arose to maintain the "I,"- my blood, my lineage, my copy, my name alive. But without women, children were not possible. So man's 'my woman', marriage rituals, emerged to create my wife/wives.

-- Nose-rings were used to establish control over animals. Nose-rings became the symbol of a husband's property. Thus, the nose-ring was declared to be the ornament of woman. The formation of family was the institutionalization of the dominance of man over woman. Mother and father both became the nose-rings of children and without them the children were considered orphans. Marital institutions drew lines demarcating legal and illegal sexual relations between man and woman. Men kept on consuming illicit relations and the pain was borne by women and illegal (bastardized) children. The constraints on women and the guarding of females has made woman irritable and overbearing. Woman as mother, as giver of life, has been transformed into woman as mother of nagging.

-- 'Blood relations' are supposedly considered an important part of the family yet girls through marriage become part of another family. With the creation of separate kitchens, even brothers by birth become parts of different families. Man by taking a woman constituted an economic unit in the form of family. Besides satisfying a man's sexual desires, marriage and family has become a means for producing children. There is an extreme desire for a son so that the rituals to be performed after death can be carried out by the son. There is an extreme desire for a son as a walking stick in old-age.

...Family acts like a permanent military detachment. But while a conscript army robs and then disperses, a standing army or permanent army continuously loots…

* To maintain the status quo, to climb the ladder of hierarchy, the whole family has to work as a unit. Family is a primary base in hierarchic social systems. The family works like the permanent military unit for these systems. To make life hell for children in the name of their welfare and to insult the elderly as a superfluous load is the normal function of family.

--In the past, having children so that they will look after you in old-age, generating a shop-keeping, instrumental relation, was undoubtedly painful. But nowadays, the gulping-biting that takes place in childhood to increase the marketability of children is resulting in the very break-up of relations between the young and old.

--The increasing dominance of the market in thought and practice combined with the increasing tendency of one-upmanship in society is deepening the politics that goes on in the family. Family has become the primary unit of the market. In the family, there is endless disrespectful behavior today towards one another. This behavior is flourishing. Insulting behavior reaches the depth of breast-beating and again comes back to the level of disrespect. Indifference and disrespect for the desires, tendencies of childhood, and children is called 'love'.

* Motherly love then, love, attachment, feeling of one's being, entertainment, empathy, sentiments, respect, help, co-participation, happiness at arrival, pain at departure... There are multi-dimensional relations between generations. Between infants, boys and girls, young and old. Community-wide bonds that existed between generations in the family mold have shrunk and narrowed and now entered the stage of the break-up of relations among generations. Slave-mother, foster mother, governess used to limit the motherly functions of a few women slave-owners, fuedals, bosses. But now daycare is limiting the motherly function of large numbers of working women. A handful of maternal and paternal grandparents of slave-owning/fuedal/boss class was limited by clowns, singers, storytellers, instructors. Now teachers and specialists through various mediums have side-lined maternal and paternal grandparents on a massive scale.

--In the said 'blood relations' mothers and women's role is dominant. Still recognition is given to the father, the man. "There should be at least one daughter otherwise the womb is not clean." Offering a girl in marriage is a great charity. These beliefs kept some space for daughter in the pre-dominance of man and son in the family tradition. In the past, there has been the custom of killing girls upon birth. But murder of the fetus after discovering it is a girl through the use of modern technology is a modern phenomenon.

* With the break-up of community, and the advent of hierarchy, inter-generational relationships community-wide have shrunk. The domination and expansion of the market has further limited the family, affecting husband-wife-daughter/son. Life has become a machine, leaving no time for love and romance between husband and wife. At the same time, dwindling desire and energy is emerging as the basis for industries that cater to produce sexual desire. The present system’s axis is the market and its crisis and instability has shrunk the family to a single woman bringing up children in highly developed areas. A single person does not constitute the definition of family. Yet in highly developed areas throughout, the number of single persons is continuously increasing.

The formation and increase of old-age homes and the withering-dying desire for children is a reflection of massive disorientation in intergenerational relations in the human species. Rejecting the natural process of death after birth has given birth to social psychosis. This massively hideous condition is also a loud call for a new social construct based on a new community.

Friday, November 20, 2009


(From New Series No. 255, September 2009)

Brisk pace is predominant today. Glorification of fast speed, still faster speed has become a form of social madness. Manufacturing fast and faster vehicles for land, sea, air, outer space, even beyond outer space is one of the major activities of human beings...Producing crops that mature quickly, rapidly increasing the flesh of birds and other animals has become common today...

We are preoccupied with increasing the speed of our own bodies. Speed, faster speed, still faster speed has taken the place of mukti-moksha or freedom from the cycle of birth.

To go beyond the tempo of nature, we produce speed. Now we have many types of speed. Production of each kind of speed is an endless dance of destruction. The fearsomeness of the dance of destruction grows with the increase of speed. Let’s look at some aspects of the impact of speed on our health to realize how crucial it is to think about the very production of speed.

*Taking decisions. Taking many decisions. Every day taking many decisions of many kinds. This has become the mode of life for each one of us. Speed, faster speed in every arena requires taking quick decisions in split second stages. And speed is only increasing…

Innumerable things are linked together. And they are dynamic. At any moment, an extremely unstable equilibrium is created. In this situation, whether it be person or institution, decisions are in the category of flukes. Therefore, there is always an abundance of potential explanations.

Each one of us has to take thousands of decisions every day because of social conditions which have been created by speed, faster speed. In this situation, hope and despair have been replaced by extreme hope and extreme despair…In a single day, each one of us swings many times between these two extremes. On the one hand, we think, “I alone am a fool.” On the other hand, we think, “Except for me, every one else is a fool.” These have become the two banks of our hope and despair.

Speed, faster speed has brought about a flood of facts and figures. Persons know some of them, can keep some of them in mind. And there are questions of evaluation, comparative evaluation, and importance. There are compulsions of having to take thousands of decisions each day rapidly. “Who doesn’t make a mistake?” has become such a commonly-heard phrase. But the matter does not stop here.

*Decision after decision, fluke after fluke…Mistake after mistake. This endless process of today forces each of one of us to into many roles daily. We are doomed to putting on many masks every single day. In this situation, each person has become the wrestling ground for many personalities. There are 50 “I’s” in one “I.” Educated people call one division in personality a mental illness, when we all suffer from multiple divisions in our personality.

Children are told to become adults quickly. According to the pace of speed in the present, children should mould themselves quickly. School. Increase the speed of minds. The result is that even in a ten year old child, there is crankiness, laziness, and sadness…up to suicide.

Mental illnesses have become an epidemic. In this situation, the tendency to stop considering 15% of mental diseases as mental diseases has also emerged among psychiatrists.

National mental health program evaluations state that in India 10-20% of the population is mentally ill. According to doctors, 50 to 60% of individuals are mentally ill. Even amongst doctors, more than half are ill and 6 to 7% are serially mentally ill. Rapid speeds’ extensive dance of destruction in India has not been in effect for a significantly long time. In Europe, America, Australia, terrifying loneliness is a product of fast and faster speed. This can be gauged by the fact that for most other medical specialists, there are many immigration restrictions put in place by these governments. However, the doors for psychiatrists from India to enter these countries have remained open.

*Loneliness. Lonely in a crowd. This is a special product of fast and faster speed.

Instrumental relations are predominant today.

Despite such a rapid pace of life, there is adequate time even for instrumental relations. In fact, it is necessary to say that speed engenders so much work that there is a lack of time. In this situation, the cry of ‘no time’ is a cry for lack of time for instrumental relations. Whereas it is those relations which are beyond instrumentality that give us zest for life...give life a spark. In instrumental relations, acquaintances are made. But in relations beyond these, in non-instrumental relations… friends are made. (There is a massive change in the meaning of words and calling acquaintances friends has become common. Still, in compulsion this word is being used in its old meaning.) For any relation, time is a primary necessity. Today instrumental relations are gobbling all the time we have. So, there are many acquaintances, hardly any friends. Of course, this situation creates the fodder for mental diseases. The cure of mental diseases in our current situation becomes impossible.

*Let’s take a look back. Fear, anger, helplessness, jealousy, frustration, greed were extensive. Apart from charms, temples, shrines, a kind of sociability existed to prevent mental illness. Speed, increasing speed has either completely gobbled up this sociability or has commodified it. In these past 100 years, ceremonies and rituals on the death of a person have changed from one month to 13 days to 3 days to now one hour. A month long Holi festival is reduced to 6-8 hours. The month of monsoons which was once a month long festivity is now reduced to a two-day month. This is true too with the holidays of Teej and Rakshabandhan...Even for Brij (the birth of Krishna), twenty day festivities from birth of Krishna to Baldev Chat has merely been reduced to just Krishna’s birthday. Durga Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali have been commodified on a terrifying level.

Grandfather, maternal grandmother, friend, relations of the streets and neighborhood are now vanishing. The demand for privacy is becoming more articulate.

Therefore, even in India, the treatment of mental diseases is on the path of becoming a very big business.

*The first knock of speed is usually in the armed forces. Speed and having to move to different places and stay there makes the army a fertile ground for mental diseases. If we look at the Indian subcontinent, the first mental asylum was opened in 1787 in Kolkata. Then 1794 in Chennai. 1795 in Ranchi. 1806 in Mumbai. 1858 in Agra. 1862 in Bareilly. All these mental asylums are situated near cantonments. Initially, in these mental asylums, soldiers born in Europe were kept here and later on soldiers born in India were also locked up here. The law to lock-up mentally ill people was passed in 1858 and the asylums were under the control of jail superintendents. In 1920, the word hospital was added to their name, coming under the supervision of doctors.

After the armies, the next arena of speed usually is the production sector. The pace of speed and the distance away from families made soldiers mentally ill. Today at speeds much faster than then, workers have to live and work far away from their families...Regarding workers’ mental health…What can be said?

And the situation of mental diseases amongst the elderly…don’t even mention it!


(New Series Number 255, September 2009)

As of July 1, 2009, the statutory meaning of minimum wages is as follows:

Unskilled worker-
3,914 rupees/mo. (8 hrs/151 rupees or approx. $3)
Semi-skilled worker (a)
4,044 rupees/mo. (8 hrs/156 rupees)
Semi-skilled worker (b)
4,304 rupees/mo. (8 hrs/161 rupees)
Skilled worker (a)
4,304 rupees/mo.(8 hrs/166 rupees)
Skilled worker (b)
4,434 rupees/mo.(8 hrs/171 rupees)
High-skilled worker
4,564 rupees/mo.(8 hrs/176 rupees)

Where less than minimum wage is being given, drop a postcard of 25/50 paise (1 cent) to these addresses:

Mr. Labour Commissioner
Gov't of Haryana
30 Bays Building
Sector 17

Mr. Chief Minister
Gov't of Haryana
Haryana Secretariat

Arihant Mac Industries Worker- 15a Industrial Area.
"The drinking water for workers used to be salty. When any one went to the third floor office to drink water, office staff used to prohibit that person. In the beginning of June one day, we all decided that we will not drink salty water, stopped work, and left the factory...The foreman stopped us and since then normal drinking water comes in water supply trucks to fill the pots in the factory with water. Wages of helpers earn 2,300-2,400 rupees; operators- 3,000; dye-setters- 4,000 and dye-maker 5,000 rupees. Since January, the boss has been saying he will increase wages but he hasn't. When the wages for July were being paid on August 13 so the workers refused to take wages. Then the wages were increased for each worker. In Arihant Mac, there is one shift for 12 hours. And in other departments, there are 2 shifts for 12 hours each. Each month, 10 to 12 times, there is continuous 36 hours of work. 340 hours work in overtime. The payment of overtime is at single rate. No weekly rest. On Saturdays, the duty is from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the payment is at double the rate, but if you do not work on that day then no pay at all. During 12 hours work, the company provides 2 samosas and for 36 hours continuous work, 20 rupees for food. 200 workers make shockers, axles, springs, hood luck, but only 7-8 workers have ESI and PF."

(ESI stands for Employee State Insurance which is legally compulsory for every factory worker. Where ESI does not exist, the worker does not exist in the factory records. To Provide ESI 1.75% of wages are deducted and the company contributes approximately 4.75%. PF stands for Provident Fund which is a retirement and pesonion scheme. 12% is deducted from wages wages and 12% is paid by the company.)

"There are 20 power presses. Workers operate them 12 hours every day and 36 hours continuously. Even helpers (unskilled workers) are made to operate them. If a hand gets cut, ESI is back-dated through the payment of bribes to insure that person. Each day 2-3 trucks of materials goes to Jaya Bharat Maruti (IBM), products also go to India Forge and Arihant Engineering. For damaged peices, they cut at least 200-500 rupees from a worker's wage each month. there is just one toilet for 200 workers. It is dirty and there is a long queue."

Dhruv Global Worker, 14 Milestone Mathura Road.
"Doing two 12 hour shifts. Makes garments for North Storm, New York, Casual Mail, Baspro, Cag. On Sundays also two 12 hour shifts and no holidays even on Janmashtami (Krishna's birthday). Payment overtime is at single rate. Helpers hired through contractors wages are 1,800-2,200 and stitching operators are paid per peice. And there is no ESI or PF for these 600-700 workers. There are about 800 permanent workers and they are paid the statutory minimum wages for 10 hours of duty instead of 8 hours. Staff wages were to be increased in March but were not increased until July. Income tax department raided the factory on August 20..."

New Randhir Press Tools Worker- Plot 365, Sector 24.
"100 workers in two 12 hour shifts makes parts for Mahindra tractors. Overtime is at single rate and June and July money was not paid until August 13th. There is a delay even in the payment of wages. 5-7 old workers wages are 4,000 to 5,000 rupees and only these workers have ESI and PF. Helpers wages are 3,000 rupees and operators wages are 3,500, no ESI, no PF. Drinking water is bad, and you will fall sick from drinking it. There is no fixed time for lunch. for male workers, there is just one toilet and it is very dirty. for female workers, there is a toilet and it is locked all the time. And then they have to go to the nearby tracks to go to the bathroom. In 12 hours, the factory does not even provide a cup of tea. The boss curses at us."

Faridabad Bolt Tight Worker- Plot 63, Sector 6.
"There are 60 workers in a 12 hour shift. No ESI or PF. Helpers (unskilled workers) wages are 2,500 and operators 3,000 to 4,000. Overtime at single rate."

SPL Industries Worker- Plot 84, Sector 35.
"There are two shifts of 12 hours each and they forcibly make us work 16-20 hours also. Wages are paid late each month from 18-20th."

Dynamic Industries Worker- Plot 5c, Sector 4.
"Workers hired through contractor had two 12 hour shifts. Helpers wages are 3,000 rupees and skilled workers are on peice rate. No ESI, no PF."

ARS Enterprises Worker- Gurukul Industrial Area, Anandpur.
"Helpers wages are 2,000 and operators 3,400. In 40 workers, only 7 workers have ESI and PF."

Gauroro India Worker-Plot 44, Sec 59.
"Helpers wages are 3,500, no ESI."

Neil Kant Thermopack Worker at Plot 37, Krishna Colony, Street #1, Sector 25.
"Helpers wages are 2,900 and operators are 3,500. ESI and PF are for 5 workers among 25. The shift is from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Overtime at single rate. There is no arrangement for drinking water from the factory. You have to bring it from home. There is no proper toilet in the factory so you have to go on the bank of the canal."

G.L. Autparts Worker- 14 Industrial Area.
"700 workers in two 12 hour shifts make parts for Honda, Yamaha 2 wheelers. Work on Sunday also. Men and women helpers wages are 2,000 to 2,200 and operators are 2,700 to 3,300. Some workers are quietly given an extra 200-300 rupees. And 14-15 young boys also work here. Senior workers get work done and the company has given them hundreds of thousands of rupees loan for establishing workshops where companies are established. ESI and PF are for 75 workers out of 700. After 12 hours of work, they forcibly stop you from leaving by cursing you to work longer hours. Overtime is at single rate. Late payment of wages each month after the 15th."

Clutch Autoworker- 12 by 4 Mathura factory.
"Payment of July wages has started on August 17th."

New Hindustan Tubes- Plot 91, Sec. 6.
"Helpers wages are 3,000 rupees. Shift is from 6 9-9 p.m. Overtime at single rate. They give 30 rupees for food and two rimes tea and snack during a 15 hour shift."

SI Engineering- Plot 352, Sec. 24.
"May, June, July wages were not paid until August 19th."

Super Fibre Worker- 57 Industrial Area, Juteville Mill.
"June wages were paid on July 30th and July wages were not paid until August 13th. One shift for 12 hours overtime at single rate."

Micro Machines Worker- 100 Plot, Sector 6
"In two 12 hour shifts, parts for Gazioni are made. In Noida, overtime is at single rate. Helpers wages are 3,000 rupees. Only 3 or 4 workers have ESI or PF."

San Lume Industries- 35 DLF Industrial Estate.
"There is a great problem around drinking water."

Reliable Diesel Worker- 12-6 Anangpur Road, Gurukul Industrial Area, company's second unit.
"When workers request a solution for even minor problems, the bosses misbehave."

Vee Gee Industrial Enterprises Worker- In 31 Industrial Area.
"They have started calling us in to work 15 minutes before the shift starts. Supervisors misbehave."

K.P. Tools Workers- Eidgah Colony, Sector 6.
"Helpers wages are 3,000, operators are 3,400 to 4,000."

Dudeja Industries Worker- in Industrial area in front of Whirlpool.
"150 workers make cables for Whirlpool fridges. Wages are 2,200 to 2,500."


(From New Series Number 255, September 2009)

E.D. Postal Employee-
"Gov't of India calls 3 lakh employees in the postal department as extra department (E.D.) We E.D. workers have got nothing from the 6th pay commission at this time. Our wages are 3200 to 3300 rupees. Before the Parliamentary Elections, assurances had been given that we would be recognized as Departmental Employees and our wages would be increased. Since elections took place, quite some time has passed since the formation of gov't and us E.D. employees' conditions still remain the same.

Haryana Roadways Driver
"In June and July 2008, through staff selection board, Gov't of Haryana hired 810 drivers and 1,200 conductors for state transport. New hires were called SPL and now drivers pay is 4,200 and conductors is 3,900. Whereas regular driver conductor ways after the 6th paid commission is around 15,000. Regular drivers, conductors on July 13th, gave a memorandum to the Management in which there was also a demand for regularization of SPL Drivers and Conductors. With the gov't not accepting the demands, on August 13th from 12 to 2 p.m., all buses of Haryana Roadways were stopped. In stopping buses for 2 hours, SPL drivers-conductors also joined the permanent ones."

Jammu Kashmir State Transport Workers
"After 5 months of oustanding wages, 4,500 employees of Jammu-Kashmir State Transport Corp. began to demonstrate daily in Srinagar beginning August 18th. On September 1st, after 15 days of demonstrations, 4,500 transport workers were joined by their families in the demonstration. Many protestors were injured by water canons, tear gas shells and baton charge by the police. 1,500 people were arrested.

Security Guard- CT-3x3 New Moti Nagar, Noida.
"Zenith Security Co. makes us guards work in two 12 hour shifts. No weekly rest for working 12 hours per day for 30 days. 3,200 wages are paid."


Gaurav Int'l Worker- In 1918 Udyog Vihar Phase 1
"Every day duty is from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.. In thread-cutting and packing departments, it is from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. They lock the gates. Because of this, women workers face a lot of difficulty. There are 600 female workers in the factory and 1,000 male workers. Men are made to work even until 2 a.m. The company does not even give a cup of tea in 14 to 17 hours of work. Women workers are cursed at a lot. When people came to inspect on July 28, the Personnel Department said that there is only 10-12 hours of overtime...Whereas it is more than 150 hours. While stitching velvet, a lot of dust flies around. Last year they used to give jaggery (gourd) for this. But this year, they have stopped giving it. They gave jaggery on July 28th only when people came to inspect. There are only 3 machines for card punching. It takes 15 minutes to punch your card. You have to take 2 days off and your card is withheld. In Gaurav Int'l, factory located at 208 Phase-I and 506 Phase-III, the bosses curse at us and misbehave with us."

KRF Worker- In 403, Udyog Vihar Phase III.
"There are 800 workers in two 12 hour shifts. Color thread is used to make stitching thread and labels for clothes. Work on Sundays also. Whereas 150 to 200 hours overtime where only 60 to 70 hours is paid and that also by single rate. If you object, then you get cursed at. New helpers wages are 2,200 and old helpers are 2,500 rupees. Whereas old helpers are made to sign on 3,840. One operator is made to operate 2 machines and the wages are 2,500 to 3,000 rupees but signatures are taken on 1,400 rupees. On taking a day off, two days wages are cut. Only 200 out of 500 workers have ESI and PF."

Vishesh Overseas Worker- 450 Udyog Vihar, Phase-I.
"In a month, more than 100 hours of overtime of which 50 hours are paid and double the rate and the rest is at single rate. Upon leaving work, it is very difficult to obtain payment for the work that was done. Those who have left in June and July have not been paid till August 25th."

Seekul Exports- In 775 Udyog Vihar, Ph. V.
"Helpers wages are 2,700 to 3,000 rupees. And sewing operators are on peice rate and the rates are not told beforehand. Toilet gate is open from 11 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.; 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and then 4:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. because of which there are lots of problems."

Modlama Worker- 200 and 201 Udyog Vihar, Phase I.
"In the month of July, the shift starts at 8:30 a.m. On the 4th Sunday of July, work went on in the factory for half a night until 2 a.m. Work was done for 28 days in July. In a full-night, work goes from 8:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. Whether it be a an half night or two nights, money for meals is merely 20 rupees. GAP goods are made in the factory. When July overtime was paid on August 25th, then 500 to 1,000 rupees were cut from each worker's payment claiming that overtime had been too much!"

"In Modlama Factories located at Plot 105 and 204, the same things occur. Now in August, the shift begin at 9:30 a.m. One boy worked continuously for ten days from 9:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. After leaving work at 6 a.m., he started work at 9:30 a.m. That worker took a thrown-away peice to tie on his head and thereafter, an allegation of theft was made. He was thrown out and not paid for the work he had done.

Madhu Chawla Design Trend-783 Udyog Vihar Ph. V.
"There were 300 workers but now there are 50. Even the minimum wages set by the government are not paid. Helpers wages are 2,500 to 3,00 rupees. And skilled workers are 140 rupees for 8 hours."

Akuru Box Leather Worker-- 199 Udyog Vihar Ph-I.
"July wages have not been paid until August 29th."

Logwell Forge Worker- 116 Udyog Vihar Ph-I.
"There are two 12 hour shifts. On Sunday, 12 hour night shifts alone. Overtime payment is at single rate."

Spark Worker- 166 Udyog Vihar Ph-I.
"There are delayed wages given on August 20th. In wages and overtime payments, 400 to 500 rupees are siphoned. On leaving work, not even half the money for what is done is given. If one objects, the bosses start cursing. They misbehave with women workers. The wages of workers cutting thread is 2,500 but all others are paid the statutory minimum wage. ESI and PF are cut from the wages but when workers leave they don't fill the form for withdrawal of PF. Only the staff has been hired by the company directly. 300 workers have been hired through a contractor. There is no canteen. There is a problem of drinking water. And for 300 persons, there is only one toilet."

ITC Worker- 86 Udyog Vihar Ph.I.
"Lifestyle Retailing Business Division, ITC Co. has hired 150 workers as contractors. Amongst the main contractors, one does nto allow workers to complete 5 pays and without giving any severance pay dismisses them. Whereas the other contractor company upon completion of 5 years at once gives one month's notice pay and 15 days of holiday per year for severance. Here sampling tailors create samples of John Clear, Wills Classic, Wills Explort, Mispelier, Club Life. Whereas their production work is done in Bengalaroo, Ludhiana, Nepal etc.


(From New Series Number 255, September 2009)

Nuclear powerhouses are more dangerous and polluting than atom bombs but the propaganda apparatus propogates that they are the source of safe and pollution-free energy. In this context, we are giving some information here from the Aug/Sep issue of News and Letters. Contact 228, South Wabash, Suite 230, Chicago, IL, 6064 (

During 1952 to 2000, throughout the world, 34 highly destructive accidents took place in nuclear powerhouses. In Pennsylvania state in the U.S. 3 mild island nuclear powerhouses in 1979 had reached the brink of a major catastrophe. In Russia, in 1986, Chernobyl Nuclear Powerhouse caused the catastrophe. In 100,000 square mile area in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, massive destruction took place. Destruction for many generations.

Direct experiences caused a monetary halt, establishing of new nuclear powerhouses stopped. The expansion of nuclear power industry throughout the world stopped. But in 2001, the gov't of USA has started again advocating the construction of nuclear powerehouses in the U.S. and in other parts of the world. 17 applications have reached the gov't of USA for construction of 26 nuclear powerhouses. The foreign secretary of USA in a recent visit to India has struck a deal with the gov't of India for construction of nuclear powerhouses. To arrange loans of 93,500 crores for companies engaged in the construction of nuclear powerhouses, the gov't of USA will become the guarantor.

There is not safe method of mining uranium. Children born in mining areas are deformed from birth. And waste from nuclear powerhouses...1,000 megawatt nuclear powerhouse produced 250 kilograms of plutonium each year. 5 kilo of plutonium is enough to make an atom bomb. Plutonium remains fatal for life for thousands of years.

Citizens and groups in the U.S. are opposing gov't policy of mining uranium and construction of nuclear powerhouses.


(From New Series Number 254, August 2009)

Brisk pace is predominant today. Glorification of fast speed, still faster speed has become a form of social madness. Manufacturing fast and faster vehicles for land, sea, air, outer space, even beyond outer space is one of the major activities of human beings...Producing crops that mature quickly, rapidly increasing the flesh of birds and other animals has become common today...

We are preoccupied with increasing the speed of our own bodies. Speed, faster speed, still faster speed has taken the place of mukti-moksha or freedom from the cycle of birth.

To go beyond the tempo of nature, we produce speed. Now we have many types of speed. Production of each kind of speed is an endless dance of destruction. The fearsomeness of the dance of destruction grows with the increase of speed. Let’s look at some aspects of the impact of speed on our health to realize how crucial it is to think about the very production of speed.

 There is a complex interlinkage within the human body so that it can take care of itself. In the body, there are many built-in defense systems. In the adrenaline glands alone, there are two parts to control excitement/agitation. One part provides chemical/stress hormones for short-term and the other for long-term. It is a common thing to say that excitement has been the normal state of the human body. But nowadays to reach on time, to finish work in a given time span has become the daily mode of life. Achieving the necessary speed of body and mind for these demands has become a question of life and death for each one of us now. The social assembly line determines the necessary speed. This speed keeps increasing and the fear of being pushed out of the line and made superfluous acts as a whip. In such a situation, each one’s body and mind are in a state of excitement for quite a lot of time each day. What happens because of this is that the whole energy of the body is focused on controlling daily excitement. As a result, the body is not able to provide the necessary energy-means to other defense mechanisms of the body. The weakening of defense mechanisms increases the possibility of diseases. So, other living organisms which used to stay in our bodies and are necessary for our life are wiped out. The clock, yes the clock, digs the grave of health.

• Our muscles and joints vary according to our activities. As an example, we can take monkeys’ children playing on a tree. But the production of speed, still greater speed requires the repetition of some acts again and again. For some of us, the muscles and joints have to bear great pressure or load for a lengthy period of time each day. The product of speed, greater speed is an epidemic of pain in the thighs, knees, calves, hands, shoulders, back...

 One more outcome of speed, faster speed is the increase and massive extension of the attack of living organisms on humans.

 Living organisms are normally found where a body resides. The body naturally develops a capacity to deal with these organisms. Rather, we should say that the human body has previously had harmony with organisms residing around and within the body. We have already mentioned the break-up of the harmony of the body with organisms living inside it. Let us look at the transformations of the earth into the village by increasing speed. In vehicles, let’s take the airplane. A person living in a village in Faridabad district is normally in harmony with organisms around it. That person going to Singapore or America brings his or her body in contact with organisms with whom the body does not have harmony with. He or she becomes prey to diseases born by speed, greater speed. But the matter does not stop here. The person traveling from here to America takes organisms to America and the person coming from America brings those organisms here. This is the sowing, rather the spreading of the seeds of new diseases to both the places.

 The production of speed, greater speed carries within it cities and megacities. Speed, greater speed carries within it schools, colleges, metros, buses, railways, airplanes...We are forced to travel in metros, buses, rails, airplanes, and encounter persons in residences and offices in big buildings and crowds in malls and bazaars. All these elements together have increased the limitless possibilities of diseases that spread through sneezing or coughing.

 New chemicals have become necessary for increased speed. To maintain the acquired level of speed, massive amounts of chemicals are necessary. There is an whole new world of human-made chemicals. In these 150-200 years, new chemicals in very large numbers have been produced. And these chemicals have a major role in causing cancer. Changes in seeds to produce crops more quickly and in larger amounts through chemical fertilizers, insecticides, weedicides, has spread cancer and new diseases across villages.

 The body is capable of repairing itself. It is a normal activity of the body to heal cuts, scratches, and bruises.

 But the injuries associated with speed and faster speed renders the body nearly helpless. Time is not even spared for the body to heal itself. More people have died in these 100 years by road accidents than people who died in all the world in war in the last five thousand years. If we talk of India alone, then more people died last year in ‘road accidents’ than the people who died in the wars of 1948, 1962,1971, and 1999 and in 60 years of ‘terrorist’ acts. In the area under the control of the government of India in 2008, roads and vehicles took the life of 100,000, one million persons became disabled, and four million persons were incapacitated for some time.

 But if you look at workplaces other than those of roads, then roads and streets appear to be spilling less blood. Figures of murders, serious injuries, diseases produced by speed at workplaces are kept secret or greatly reduced in number. Increase of speed in agriculture through thrashers, tractors, tools, electricity are epic in themselves. An epic of a dance of destruction.


(From New Series Number 253, July 2009)

*Workers rage again burst out in Bangladesh. In a factory in a central area of Bangladesh, dispute regarding outstanding wages increase and reinstitution took a violent turn on July 27. Some bosses were beaten up. Police burst tear gas shells to dispense the crowd of workers. Workers blocked the National Highway. Auxililary force of the police fired bullets. One worker died. Workers from many factories came out on the roads. Out of fear, some managements shut down the factories earlier than usual. The factory in the location where the dispute arose was put on fire. In protest against the workers' death, demonstrations were held on June 28th at different places in Bangladesh. And then on June 29, workers rage became explosive. In an industrial center of the capital Dhaka, there were sharp clashes between workers and the police. When the number of workers filled with rage reached 50,000, the additional police force of 400 officers called to protect the factory stepped aside. Most of the workers in the Dhaka area were on the roads but in some factories, factories became the target of workers' attacks and 50 factories were set on fire. Governments and vicious special forces were called in to control the discontent of the workers. (More informaion can be found here-

*In the month of June in India, the government of India launched an attack on peasants and artisans. For 8 months in Lalgarh area of West Bengal, poor people of 30 villages had refused to acknowledge the very existence of state or government. Agitated by this power, a gang-up of state armed police, central calamity forces (central reserved police force and border security force) and special forces and with the help of air force gunship, attack on peasants and artisans in Lalgarh was launched.

*In conditions going from bad to worse, upheavals, increasing upheavals are natural. In society, this has been taking place in the last 5-7,000 years. This process that began in minor areas of the earth has in these past 5,000 years increased worldwide.

We are tangled in a situation of violence and counterviolence, just violence and unjust violence, increasing violence in the garb of peace and non-violence...Because of this, one person is doomed to be split up into 50 personalities. Today each one of us is caught up in mutilating one's body and conscience. Each one is engaged in bloodying those around oneself. Mountains of pain are transforming each person into bombs. In these 200 years, the speed of narrowing the trap is closing in at faster rates and it's capacity to strike has become increasingly fatal.

We all are being pushed towards total destruction. We are pushing our own selves in this direction. So, let's increase exchanges, increase the churning to find the means to overcome this viscious whirlpool.

*A person has to deal with one's own self all the time. Persons, many kinds of relations with other persons is a common thing. In this scenario, in conditions from bad to worse, blaming one's own self, blaming other persons is natural. But this is blaming the victims.

Labouring masses have been prey to exploitation-oppression But 2,500 years ago, Prince Siddharth had become a beggar-monk and Emperor Chandragupt used to change rooms every night for fear he would be killed in his sleep. Today managers being forced out of jobs, chairmen and CEO's going to prison are becoming common.

People occupying a post keep changing. But the positions itself continue. The problem lies in the post/position. Getting involved in making this or that person the boss or changing bosses is to be entrapped. Put bosses as such, the very position of a boss as the head of the hierarchy, as the target. Besides emancipation of labouring masses, this will also open the doors for peaceful sleep for emperors...Princes will not become beggars. Life will not remain a curse. There will be no desire to seek emancipation from life.

In our opinion, focusing on social relations, social process and theory-practice based on victim-co-victim will create fissures in the present entanglement.

*In the army of kings and emperors, it was a big deal for there to be an 1,000 permanent soldiers. Emperors with palaces and forts used to normally take 1/6th of the production of serfs, peasants, artisans. By swallowing 50% of the production done by wage-workers in coal-based factories, wage workers provided the capacity to modern governments to have standing armies of 50,000 standing strong. In 1890, the government's formation of a 100,000 standing strong army had caused an uproar in the world. Nowadays in the year of petrol-diesel-electricity-electronics, 98% of what the workers produce is being siphoned off. Earth, even outer space has been militarized...

95-98% of what is being done today is unnecessary harmful and dangerous. Exploitation of earth, other species and our own selves has brought us to this place. The web of hierarchy has reached the factory through the control of animals for milking, the exploitation of slaves, the tearing apart of the earth for agriculture...This is the result of the "good life" based on the exploitation of all and of everything. This is the result of civilization, progress, and development..!

Fast to faster speed, more and more shine, production in increasingly large amounts...these are the scales of "good life" in the present. "Good life" in which people are increasingly being transformed into a surplus population into scraps and heaps of garbage...To deal in the circle of "good life" is to stretch the body and smother the conscience. For one to have the "good life," then one does not have time for one's own self...

Therefore, upheaval is welcomed. Upheavals provide the opportunity to think about other modes of living. Upheavals increase the possibility of new modes of living.

Won't it be nice to end harmful and dangerous work? How would one feel if the time to slog was reduced? What fantastic things are possible if there was free time for those who are tied to a fast pace of life. If work were reduced to 1/48th or 1/49th quarter than air, water, soil and health would immediately improve. To encourage upheavals, one can begin with one's self. Instead of stretching the body, let's listen to our bodies and create opportunities for rest. Instead of killing the conscience, we can listen to our conscience. Being at ease with oneself provides a strong basis for relations with others. Each relation needs time. Having time, acquiring time creates and increases the possibilities of relations of love, affection, attachment, respect and such relations can take upheavals onto a new terrain. Social death and social murder of artisans, peasants, shopkeepers will continue increasing upheavals. Ever increasing exploitation and increasing insecurity and uncertainty of workers will keep increasing upheavals throughout the world. Upheavals are necessary and welcome for the creation of a new society.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Since August 1, D.A. (Dearness Allowance) has not been declared by the gov't of Delhi and was not done so until the beginning of Sep.

Basant India Worker- g-4, B-1 Extension, Mohan Coop Industrial Estate
"Against delaying wage payment and too much delay in overtime payments. 90 workers had stopped work on July 17th. Then Management paid the overtime of March and April months. When July wages were not paid till August 20, some women workers went to the bosses for wages. At this, the Management immediately terminated the services of three women workers. July wages have not been paid till today. August 24th and overtime of May, June, July has also not been paid."

Unistyle Worker- B-51, Okhla Ph.-I.
"In July, sewing operators had stopped work for 3 days because Eliza t-shirt's peice rate went from 28 to 37 rupees. One contractor paid 25 sewing operators as per 37 rupees rate but anoother contractor while working final payment to 21 sewing operators on July 23rd started paying the rate of 35 but that amount was refused by the workers. At that time, there was no work in the factory. So, the sewing operator made a complaint in the Labour Department to the union leader. In reply, the contractor denied that the workers were on peice rate and said that they were on monthly wages of 5,500. When workers produced proof of working for more than 3 years in Unistyle, the contractor changed what he had said and said they no longer had worked for 2 months but for 1 year. Besides taking up the issue in the Labour Department, the skilled workers kept going to the factory but had to sit idle because there was no work in the factory. It was said that July wages would be paid on August 7th. Then that they would be paid on the 10th, but wages were not given until August 17th. In this scenario, work for making Samsung T-shirts came and the contractor asked the worker to commence the work and the workers demanded July wages. On August 22th, 21 sewing operators were retained in the factory. An Hearing is still pending the Labour Department."

Wearnell Worker- B-134, Okhla Ph-I
"On August 8, 5 permanent workers were stopped at the gate by the Management and told to write their resignation letters and take their final dues. Workers refused to write resignation letters. Inside the factory, 125 permanent workers opposed this act of Management. At this, 21 other permanent workers were thrown out. Workers made a complaint in the Labour Department through the IFTU union. The company did not have a response. On August 18th, the company gave letters to 26 permanent workers in the Labour Department where it was stated that on August 8th, they had forcefully left the factory! And then suddenly a leader appeared and caught 21 of the workers in a trap by saying that if you immediately go back to duty, you will get severance pay at once. But still 5 workers were not prepared to quit their jobs. After cursing the split amongst the workers, the leader told the workers refusing to quit separately that he would get more money from them. At the leaders' behest on August 22, 21 workers reached the factory to collect their dues. With the leader being late, the workers called the leader on the phone and the mike on the mobile was put on to increase the sound so that the workers could hear the conversation. Assuming that the call was from workers refusing to resign, the leader told them not to worry. Let these 21 go and then I will get very good severance pay for you. Hearing this, 21 workers were stunned. Then they understood the meaning of it and after bluntly telling the leader off, they came together with their 5 colleagues. The 26 workers are pursuing their issue in the Labour Department through the IFTU union."

Boutique Int'l- D-80, Okhla Ph-I.
Wages of women workers is between 2,400 and 2,500 rupees. No ESI, no PF. Many workers are paid the statutory minimum wages and ESI and PF are there but upon quitting, the money for withdrawing the forums are not filled. These days there is hardly any over time but from September to March each month, there are 200 hours overtime, payment at single rate. There is difficulty with drinking water. For 500 workers, merely 2 toilets.

Balaji Hauzi Udhyog Worker, x38 Okhla, Ph-II.
"Helpers wages are 3,000. No ESI."