Reports are emerging of a “brutal police attack” on workers who joined the all India workers strike at Daikin AC factory gate in Neemrana Rajasthan. The police reportedly used lathi-charge, water cannons, tear gas, air firing etc. to “stop the strike and peaceful democratic rally” in the Japanese zone. As many as 1500 workers have been reported to participate in the strike.
Workers were protesting as part of the all India workers strike on January 8 and January 9 with a 12 charter demand against the “anti-labour”, “anti-people” and the “anti-national” policies of the BJP-led NDA government. The strike has been announced by Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Coordination Committee (TUCC), Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) after the national convention of workers that was held in September 2018.Workers from various sectors including banking, insurance, coal and non-coal mines, petroleum, post, telecom, engineering, manufacturing, steel, defence, health, education, water management and projects, power, road transport, central and state government employees and auto-taxi unions – have come in support of the strike. Apart from these, unions and associations of agricultural workers, plantation workers, scheme workers, construction workers, vendors etc. are expected to participate in the strike.
Apart from “permanent, contractual and FTC workers of Daikin, workers from Toyota, Honda, Shyon, Ultraware, Nidec and other companies in Neemrana had also joined the rally. As per the press release released by the union,” when the rally reached Daikin company gate at around 2 pm and the workers peacefully hoisted union flag at the company gate, the police and the management hired goons attacked the workers in a brutal manner. The police brutally lathi-charged the both male and female workers and used water cannon, tear gas, rubber bullets too.”
Reportedly, bouncers also joined the police and pelted stones at the workers, in the aftermath of which at least 30 permanent and contract workers, both male and female, including Union president Rukumudeen and Union general secretary Daulat Ram, were grievously injured, including serious head injury and bone fractures, and had to be admitted in nearby hospitals.
In a statement released by the Daikin Air Conditioning Workers Union (DACWU), workers have alleged that this was a “planned attack on behalf of the Daikin management and the administration.” Earlier in the day, at around 5 am, when the workers were distributing pamphlets in the area in support of the strike, reportedly, a team of bouncers armed with lathi, rod, chain etc. “attacked the workers and Vijay, a workers was seriously injured.” Allegedly, the company management hired hundreds of goons to disrupt the peaceful rally of the workers.
Yesterday, the statement said, the company management prepared to attack workers by housing hundreds of bouncers and threatening contract workers. The statement said that the management is “solely to be blamed for violence.”
Workers are seeing this as an “attempt to crush the 5 year long struggle” for the registration of a workers’ union, which eventually got registered in September, 2018. The struggle saw numerous hardships, and even termination of almost all the office bearers of the union and other leading activists. However, the company management did not recognise the union and transferred 15 worker leaders in different cities. However the workers continues their struggle for rights and justice and received support of workers struggling in various other companies in Neemrana. It is reported that when the union raised demands of permanent of contract workers, the management for more vindictive.
The union said in the statement, “Today, it was the collective show of strength of striking workers, permanent and contract, male and female, Daikin workers and workers of other companies, vis-à-vis repression and exploitation. So the management and the administration were anxious. After their brutal attack on workers, they are spreading false rumours that the workers pelted stones and destroyed police vans.”
Despite the brutal repression, the union has vowed to continue the struggle tomorrow.