I read both the articles “Workers' struggle in Maruti Suzuki” and “Maruti Suzuki management's response to article on workers' struggle” (Sept. 28-29) with concern. First, I condemn the views of Suzuki bosses. Maruti Suzuki has grown to the level it is at now only because of Indian workers. It is every individual worker's pride to see our roads flooded with Marutis. Without their active co-operation, the supervisors and managers of the company could not have met the demand in the market for quality cars. Denying employees their right to have their own trade union, and reducing variable components of salaries even for taking authorised leave, are draconian. Having so many categories in the workforce exhibits the attitude of the management. And what does the management expect from workers by signing a good conduct bond? Does not it mean the existing rules have no provision to punish any misconduct/indiscipline?
In effect, the management is fighting shy of recognising the rights of workers — to collective bargaining and to organise — that form part of an internationally recognised labour code adopted by the ILO in which forum employers, governments and trade unions of all countries agree and adopt conventions by consensus. Punishing and preventing crime are predominantly sovereign functions. Workers are not bound to accept a management imposed good conduct bond. Legally applicable good conduct already exists in the form of certified standing orders to which both management and workers are parties.
The facts and figures provided undoubtedly put the management in the dock. The issues involved in the struggle are symptomatic of the ills prevailing throughout the country. The liberalisation of the economy and consequent ascendance of crony capitalism in the country have brought about a sea change in the labour scenario. The basic right of the workers to form unions and protest are being trampled upon with impunity. The number of contract labourers is on the rise.
The workers have no right to be creating quality problems whatever their grievances. They should think of peaceful means of protest.