THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions, in a statement issued on June 1, has strongly condemned the brutal lathicharge, arrest and detention of more than four hundred workers including 35 women of the Aisin Automative Ltd located at Rohtak, Haryana. Besides the workers, the leaders of various mass organisations who joined the struggling workers in solidarity were also arrested on May 31, 2017. CITU has warned the BJP led Haryana government that it will have to face the united strength of the toiling people if it tries to repeat ‘Honda’ or ‘Maruti’ in Aisin or elsewhere in the state.
Aisin Automative Ltd is a Japanese automative company employing nearly 800 workers including women in IMT, Rohtak. The workers took initiative to form trade union and submitted an application to the state labour department. But the labour department of the BJP led government in Haryana rejected the application without showing any reason and almost simultaneously, on May 3, 2017, the management of Aisin Automotive terminated service of the 20 leading workers including four women without notice and showing any reason. When other workers enmasse protested such autocratic termination of their leaders, rest of the 700 workers were also sent out of the factory, directing them to join work only after giving a written undertaking not to join any union. Whatever happened in Maruti a couple of years ago, same thing is repeated by the Japanese employer with the support of the Haryana government as its subordinate.
Since then, the workers have been sitting on a peaceful dharna before the factory gate in protest. In the scorching heat, they are sitting directly under the sun, which caused hospitalisation of many employees, but it could not weaken their fighting spirit. CITU and many mass organisations and trade unions extended support to the workers. Assistant labour commissioner called for negotiations three times but there was no outcome. On May 23, a massive rally was held in support of the workers in Rohtak.
On May 31, while workers were sitting peacefully on dharna before the factory gate, a large police force arrived at the spot and started brutal lathicharge on the workers injuring many. In the face of workers staying there facing the lathicharge, police resorted to mass scale arrests. 425 were arrested including CITU state leader Vinod, youth leader Sandip and AIDWA leader Asha. They were charged with various sections of IPC, produced before the magistrate at midnight and were detained for two weeks.
This is yet another example as to how the BJP government in Haryana has trampled under feet their basic constitutional responsibility and promoted violation of laws of the land in the most obedient service of the Japanese multinational. Denial of registration of the trade union is a serious offence committed by the government. Terminating the service of workers for making an effort to form trade union under the Trade Union Act and insisting others to give undertaking on not to join trade union, is also a grave offence committed by the employer; instead of taking action against the offending employer, the brutal lathicharge by the police on the workers sitting on a peaceful dharna is also a criminal offence.
CITU has called upon the trade union movement and workers in general to extend support to the struggle of the Aisin workers and hold solidarity actions statewide. The BJP government-employer nexus holding lives of the common people to ransom, must be defeated and struggle must go on.
CITU has demanded immediate release of all workers and their leaders, unconditional reinstatement of all terminated workers, immediate grant of registration of workers’ union and sorting out of the issues raised by the workers through bilateral talks.