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Gurgaon workers plan stir after violence at Rico Auto

Gurgaon workers plan stir after violence at Rico Auto
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First Published: Mon, Oct 19 2009. 09 42 PM IST

Labour unrest: Workers of Rico Auto Industries protest on Monday against the death of one of their colleagues in Gurgaon. PTI
Labour unrest: Workers of Rico Auto Industries protest on Monday against the death of one of their colleagues in Gurgaon. PTI
Updated: Mon, Oct 19 2009. 09 42 PM IST
Gurgaon, Haryana: Workers at some 60 factories in Gurgaon and Rewari in Haryana plan to strike work on Tuesday protesting against the death of a worker at Rico Auto Industries Ltd on Sunday, a union representative said.
Sona Koyo Steering Systems Ltd, Hero Honda Motors Ltd, and Lumax Industries Ltd are among those likely to be affected, according to Suresh Gaur, president of the Gurgaon branch of the All Indian Trade Union Congress.
Labour unrest: Workers of Rico Auto Industries protest on Monday against the death of one of their colleagues in Gurgaon. PTI
This development comes after one person died and several people were injured in a confrontation between two groups of workers at the factory gate late on Sunday evening. While authorities place the number of injured at between five and 11, Rico workers said at least 40 of their colleagues were injured.
Workers at Rico struck work on 21 September after 17 of their colleagues were expelled on disciplinary grounds. They allege their expelled colleagues had been victimized for helping form a trade union.
“After working for 13 years, I take home only Rs10,500 a month,” said Pankaj Kumar Singh, a worker. “Forming a union is the only way we can air our grievances.” His colleagues are also peeved with their annual raises that are capped at Rs500. Management employees are given much higher raises, they say.
The Haryana government termed the strike illegal on 1 October, after conciliation efforts between the workers and the company management failed. The state government has referred the matter to the labour court, said M.R. Anand, additional labour commissioner in Gurgaon.
The workers have demanded a judicial inquiry by a high court judge into Sunday’s incident. They alleged that the police fired upon them without provocation. They also want the 17 suspended workers to be reinstated.
The management at Rico Auto could not be reached despite repeated attempts.
The incident at the Rico factory represents growing unrest between company managements and workers across the country. In May this year, several hundred workers employed at Nestle India Ltd’s plants in Punjab, Harayana and Goa converged at the firm’s headquarters in Gurgaon to demand recognition for union activities. Mint reported in May that Nestle’s management had moved court in January, seeking a permanent ban on all union activities, including meetings, within 200m of its factories.
Worker trouble has also been simmering at Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd, based in Manesar, Haryana, for about a month now.
Sunday’s incident was provoked by a group of striking workers who prevented their colleagues from entering the factory, according to S.S. Deswal, Gurgaon police commissioner.
The workers denied this and claimed that trouble began as a result of an altercation between private security personnel and the police, which later spilled out of the factory gates and engulfed the striking workers.
samar.s@livemint.com
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First Published: Mon, Oct 19 2009. 09 42 PM IST