On July 25 Indian television showed footage of hundreds of striking workers surrounded by cops and made to crawl on the ground as the cops worked their way through the crowd beating heads, backs, and limbs with thick, metal-tipped clubs and continuing to beat as their victims lay bloody and senseless for a full 45 minutes. It was like the Rodney King video on a tape loop.
The workers were highly skilled technicians recruited two years ago from training institutes all across India to work at a factory in Gurgaon, Haryana owned by the Japanese auto company Honda. It was supposed to be a dream job but they ended up working long shifts for less-than-average pay and under humiliating conditions where they couldn’t even use the toilet when they needed to. Finally 2000 workers were told that they would not be taken on when their two-year training period was up; new trainees would be hired in their place. The workers decided to form a union. The company fired the four workers who were leading the organizing drive and suspended 50 more as troublemakers. When the workers responded with a slowdown to try to get their coworkers’ jobs back, the company locked them out.
On July 25 a group of over a thousand workers marched from the factory gate to the district administrative center to ask the chief minister there to intervene. Police tried to stop the march but couldn’t hold it back. So they called in reinforcements from neighboring cities and got ready to teach the workers a lesson....
...see anti-caste article: on the repression of striking Honda workers in Gurgaon, Haryana
Target, trade unionism (Frontline)
For a 'New deal' for labour by Praful Bidwai (Frontline, August 13-26, 2005)
Malls of the few, chawls of the many by P. Sainath (The Hindu, Opinion)