Workers claim firm deterred them from forming unions

The workers at SPM Autocomp Systems Pvt. Limited, a manufacturer and supplier of auto parts, in Manesar have accused the company’s management of harassing them and issuing veiled threats to their families to deter them from forming a trade union.

The workers have complained to the CM Window, Additional Labour Commissioner Office and the Commissioner of Police in this regard, but to no avail.

The process to constitute a union was initiated after one of the company's worker was killed in April this year after being caught in the conveyer belt while on duty.

But the workers claimed that the management began to harass the office-bearers of the union, which is yet to be registered, soon after they initiated the process for its registration in September, and later submitted a letter to the Additional Labour Commissioner Office seeking increase in wages and other facilities.

“When nothing worked, the management officials reached the houses of the office-bearers and issued veiled threats. Carrying clippings of the Maruti case, they threatened my parents that I too could meet the same fate. They also visited the houses of Sunil Kataria and Sanjay Sharma and threatened them,” alleged Shiv Kumar, a resident of Katopur village in Dharuhera.

Held hostage

Ravinder, the union president, claimed that he along with a half-a-dozen office-bearers was held hostage on October 9 inside the company, beaten up and forced to sign papers to reach an agreement with the company on union formation.

The office-bearers claimed that the firm also got villagers to threaten them and has barred them from entering the company's premises since October 10.

When contacted, SPM’s owner Dharmender Batra claimed that the management officials had gone to the office-bearers houses only to request them to not form the union. “We are like a family. A union creates unnecessary friction between the workers and the management. So we had gone to their families to request them to not to indulge in all this,” said Mr. Batra. He, however, denied all allegations of beating and harassing the workers.

Station House Officer, IMT Manesar, Inspector Narender Kumar said he had received the workers’ complaint against the management, but the matter was under investigation and FIR was not registered as yet.

The workers’ lawyer Monu Kuhar, who had also represented the Maruti workers, rued that the workers were being denied a basic right to form a union. “The right to form a union exists since the British period, but it is difficult to get a union registered even in free India”.

Workers in most companies in Gurugram face harassment for forming a union. The fact that only a 100-odd companies, out of several thousands factories, in Gurugram have trade unions speaks volumes of the state of affairs,” said Mr. Kuhar.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 8:06:00 AM |

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