Free All the Imprisoned Maruti-Suzuki Trade Unionists!
Photo by: Pro-People Arts Project Media Group
The Gurgaon Court in India sentenced 13 Maruti-Suzuki union leaders to life imprisonment and four others to five-year imprisonment. The punishment was decided despite the weak evidence that failed to prove the guilt of the Maruti Suzuki workers. The severity of the sentence imposed on the 17 trade unionists is a clear manifestation of the alliance of the state with the capitalists.
During the violent conflict that happened on 18 July 2012, the 13 Maruti Suzuki trade unionists were accused of attacking Awanish Kumar Dev, Maruti Suzuki’s general manager for human resources, that allegedly prevented him from escaping the burning factory. Other members of the union were accused and convicted for trespass, unlawful assembly, mischief, and rioting and possession of deadly weapons.
It should be noted that the violent conflict in 2012 happened as a result of the company’s actions to bust the union of both permanent and contract workers. Since the union’s formation, the workers faced a barrage of attacks by the management the state apparatus. In particular, the management employed various tactics to intimidate the workers, such as deploying bouncers and calling the police during the negotiation between the trade union and the management.
We are aware that the state will always act on behalf of the capitalists, serving as the capitalists’ servant. The Maruti Suzuki case is just one of the many examples of the how the state serves the capitalist interest. The state-capitalist connivance is not new. In the past, the High Court ruled that allowing the accused and criminalised workers to bail would set a bad precedent in terms of attracting foreign direct investments.
We, labour organisations from different Asian countries, strongly and vehemently oppose the court decision. The threat, intimidation, and criminalisation of workers are a grave violation of workers’ fundamental right to freedom of association.
Thus, we support the Maruti Suzuki workers’ struggle for their rights. While the state’s utmost accountability is to protect its citizens’ rights, the Indian government instead protected the capitalists by implicating the workers, despite the weak evidence. We believe that the death of the company’s manager was not caused by the direct attack of the workers. We also believe that the Maruti Suzuki workers’ actions were a legitimate protest against the company’s constant violations of the workers’ rights and the country’s labour laws.
We stand in solidarity with the Maruti Suzuki workers. The struggle of the Maruti Suzuki workers is our struggle, too – the entire working class’ struggle. We, the workers of the world, shall unite and fight along with the Maruti Suzuki workers. We call upon Indian Government to free all the imprisoned Maruti workers and save the lives of the innocent 13 trade unionists.
Free the Maruti Suzuki workers!
Stand in solidarity!
Rise in rage!
Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong
Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network
National Union Confederation (KSN/Konfederasi Serikat Nasional), Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesia Confederation of United Workers (KPBI/Konfederasi Persatuan Buruh Indonesia), Jakarta, Indonesia
Confederation of Indonesian People Movement (KPRI/Konfederasi Pergerakan Rakyat Indonesia), Jakarta, Indonesia
Working People Party (PRP/Partai Rakyat Pekerja), Jakarta, Indonesia
Sedane Labour Resource Centre (LIPS/Lembaga Informasi Perburuhan Sedane), Bogor, Indonesia
Paper and Printing Worker Union (PPMI), Bekasi, Indonesia
Electronic Industry Employees Union Southern Region Peninsular Malaysia (EIEU-Southern Region)
Interfaith Cooperation Forum, Hong Kong
Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), Malaysia
Committee for Asian Women
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor, Malaysia
Worker's Initiative, Kolkata, India
Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS), Korea