Rajasthan Honda Workers May Lose Job
Workers of Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) from Tapukara, Rajasthan have started a hunger strike from September 19 to protest against the mismanagement and exploitative working conditions of the contract labour at the Honda factory. The protest hasn’t gone down well with the management of the company. They have now warned its current employees against using social media to support against the protest.
On September 24, one of the permanent members at the Tapukara plant, Vijender Kumar, was indefinitely suspended by the management for expressing his support for the hunger strike. Workers claim that Honda has also posted notifications at the plant and issued warning letters to take disciplinary action against employees who use social media to incite unrest or demonstrate solidarity with the nearly 2,500 workers whose employment has been terminated since February.
Workers from HMSI have come to Delhi and has started an indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar. Each day, activists, students and workers have been participating in a relay hunger strike as well.
The protesters have been joined by activists like Amarjeet Kaur and Vidya Sagar Giri of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Sanjay Singhvi of Trade Union Centre of India and Ram Nivas of Mazdoor Sahyog Kendra, were present over the past week to express their solidarity with the Honda workers.
One of the hunger strike, protestors from Honda, Vipin Paul, fell unconscious on the morning of September 26 and refused treatment when he was taken to the hospital.
Since Wednesday, the hunger strike has gained a new dimension after other organisations came in support of it. Leaders of other automobile unions such as Maruti Manesar, Maruti Gurgaon, Suzuki Bikes and Munjal Showa, along with trade unions like AITUC, Centre of Indian Trade Unions and Indian National Trade Union Congress also began a four-day march from Dharuhera in Haryana to Jantar Mantar.
On 16 February this year, workers at the Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) factory in Tapukara, Rajasthan, went on strike. A plant engineer slapped a worker, and ended with Honda terminating over 100 of its 500-strong permanent workforce, and replacing over 1,000 contract workers. They are still waiting for the company to reinstate them Dharuhera in Haryana to Jantar Mantar.
However, Honda has completely denied such claims and has remained relatively quiet about the protest.
Meanwhile, workers have appealed to labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya to resolve the issue. A Honda worker said the minister would forward their memorandum of demands to his officer on special duty for further inquiry into the matter.
The Logical Indian condemns HMSI’s attempt to revoke anyone who is trying to support the protest. Social media is the place where anyone and everyone can express their viewpoints and support a cause. Facebook or twitter has today become a mouthpiece of freedom of speech and expression. This stern action strictly violates such freedom. This tactic mirrors similar attempts made by political parties, the police and universities to crack down on free speech in various parts of the country. And now the same thing has been adapted by a company.