By Kranikari Naujawan Sabha
One of the starkest instances of injustice in the country was delivered on 3rd December when 14 workers of Pricol Pvt Ltd, an auto company in Coimbatore Tamil Nadu were given ‘double life-term sentences’ by a Trial Court in Coimbatore. Not a single ‘national’ newspaper has covered this atrocity.
They have been struggling against the company which is notorious for its anti-worker, anti-union activities, continuous exploitation, arbitrary dismissal, transfers, wage cuts, employing contractual labour in core production and so on. The company’s anti-Union zeal made it shower gifts on pro-management ‘internal’ union and refusing recognition of the workers union–Kovai Mavatta Pricol Trade Union–even stamping it as ‘Maoist’ and ‘disruptive of peace’. The workers long brave battle against the company management, forced even the Tamil Nadu Labour Minister to recognize that the company had blatantly violated labour laws. The backlash and violence on workers continued. As workers planned to mark 1000 days of struggle in September 2009, 42 workers were dismissed. An HR manager died with injuries supposedly received on 21st September 2009, as the conflict sharpened. The Tamil Nadu Police literally hunted down workers from their already broken homes, their squalid rented rooms, and continuous unrelenting violence on workers families were done which continue unabated. This judgment comes on the back of these continuous pro-corporate State atrocities.
This is the same uncanny story line under similar conditions we see in Graziano Trasmissioni (Noida) in September 2008, in Regent Ceramics (Puducherry) in January 2012, and in Maruti Suzuki (Manesar) in July 2012. Similar militancy was seen on a broader scale by largely contractual workers during the 21-22 February 2013 general strike in industrial belts in Okhla, Noida and so on. Unbridled capitalist exploitation with the State ensuring ‘peaceful’ (read: production at gun point) movement of capital and surplus extraction with the rhetoric of ‘development’ one hand and no way option of collective bargaining left as the struggle sharpens is leaving workers with no other option than to rebel against the systemic injustice in various ‘organic’ forms. The same question is being asked in these instances: If this is your condition of existence and this is your ‘justice’, can mass scale anger bursting out as ‘sedition’ be far behind?’
We are apprehensive that similar attacks by the ‘(in)justice system’ is coming as the judgment by the Trial Court in the Maruti Suzuki workers case (Jiyalal and Others vs State of Haryana) is coming to a close with cases on 216 workers, and 36 still in Jail after 3 and half years. In such a scenario, we must stand firmly with workers and demand the immediate release of these political prisoners of class struggle in Coimbatore and in Manesar, and reject this unsaid consensus on the inherently unjust ‘law of the land’ – which is only another name for organized violence by the police-administration-government and now the Judiciary, who salivate to the tune of the Company Raj.