Sunday, July 17, 2016

The role of middlepersons in these times

translation from July 2016 issue of FMS

The role of Middlepersons in these times
• When a hundred persons speak, they say thousand different things, in thousands of different ways. People are speaking up in hundreds, thousands, millions, a 7 billion people.
• How can one talk to 500 people? Select 5 persons and send them for discussion! When the selected ones are sincere and honest they get outmaneuvered and if they turn dishonest, they sell-out.
• In the conflict between self-action, acting in groups and acting by means of a representative-leader, the representatives-leaders are being beaten up.
Everyone compromises and sells-out. All leaders are cheats. It's common to hear this every where the world over. Yet, conditions are created for intervention by such middlemen.
• Bonds between workers weaken the control of the company on the factory. Increasing bonds and coordination attain the potential of dislodging the control of the company. In the process, there are incidents of workers dismissed from jobs and police action which create space for middlepersons. Space is created for middlepersons – space emerges for middlepersons - when the workers look to law-legislature-government for immediate relief from suspension-dismissal-arrest-court cases.
Workers do not get relief through middlepersons. In pursuit of relief, middlepersons take workers through a tiring grind of memoranda-court dates-protest-demonstrations and assurances. Honda Tapukara is again an example of relief for the companies coming from the work of middlepersons. And, Bellsonica Manesar is yet another example of companies getting relief by means of middlepersons.

Honda Tapukara

A description of the unrest at the Honda factory in district Alwar, Rajasthan can be found in the March 2016 issue.

On 16th February, in order to stem the upsurge of temporary and permanent workers, the workers were evicted from the factory by means of police action. Following that, a huge number of new temporary workers were recruited and the factory was kept operational through them and a few permanent workers. In parallel, the workers evicted from the factory were made to run around Gurgaon, Jaipur, Alwar by middlepersons for obtaining relief.

On 6th June, there was a settlement between the Honda management and unions in the presence of the Labour Commissioner of Rajasthan government. Out of more than 4,000 workers evicted from the factory, 256 permanent workers were to go back to work at the factory starting 8 June. As for the rest, it was decided to have talks on 13 June at the Labour Department.

The union thanked the Honda management and Labour Department of Rajasthan Government in press releases.

On 8 June, the permanent workers went into the factory to work in accordance with the settlement.

And then, come 13th June, the Honda management never showed up for the talks scheduled at the Labour department. The company bluntly said that it would not recall even a single worker of the thousands of temporary workers evicted from the factory.

102 permanent workers of Honda Tapukara have been dismissed and 47 have been suspended.

With the Honda management “going back on its words”, the union has once more started a series of protest-demonstration-appeals since 20th June.

Bellsonica Manesar

Description of the happenings at Bellconica factory can be found in the June 2016 issue.

Union has kept saying: Workers will benefit from peacefully keeping up regular production at the factory, through the Labour department and the Courts. Far from the workers gaining anything through these things going on since 1.5 years, the company has instead fired many permanent, trainees and workers hired through contractor companies.

In June, workers at the factory bluntly told the union leaders that the union right away do something for immediate relief failing which the workers would act on their own.

The union which had been holding out hopes since months for the decisive date of 12 July at the High Court, taxed its brains and made a plan: kill the snake, yet do not break the stick. To ensure that the production does not suffer, the company does not face losses, the company does not get annoyed – the weekly off day in the factory was chosen. Lot of thought also went into the “action” to be taken - to act without putting the government authorities under pressure, or tension, without being a bother, without angering them. A Sunday was found to be the best choice. 6,000 handbills were printed for distribution. 1,500 posters were printed for putting up in Dharuhera, Bawal, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Delhi University and IMT Manesar. Towards the end of June, the union kept busy many workers working in Belsonica factory and their colleagues outside the factory.

Sunday is a holiday at the factory. Government offices are closed on Sundays. Hence, the middlepersons calling for revolution-vivolution announce:
Program : Collective Hunger Strike
Venue : Mini Secretariat, Gurgaon
Time : 9 AM – 5 PM
Date : July 3 2016
• We are not talking about 1 or 2 workers. We are talking about groups of workers. It is clear what worker groups should not do. On being fired from work, arrested, embroiled in Court cases – in such situations having expectations from law-legislature-government is akin to getting trapped in a mire for worker groups.
So the important questions are : Who to look to? Who to approach? Who to talk to? What-all to do? From our side, to initiate discussion we would say: workers should look towards other workers, workers should approach other workers, workers should talk to other workers. The points of departure to think and act together are the forming of bonds, coordination amongst workers within the factory, between factories, within the industrial area, between industrial areas, and at dwelling quarters. It is necessary to increase them.

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