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Driving Force: Labour Struggles and Violation of Rights in Maruti Suzuki India Limited

25 May 2013

This report is the outcome of PUDR investigation undertken after the incident of 18 July 2012, at the Manesar unit of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), in which an HR manager died and some other managers as well as workers were injured. PUDR investgated the context and implications of this incident, which the media projected as an isolated act of horrific violence. This report also tries to unravel the long chain of events and continuous tension and conflict that preceded the incident and the truth about the incident itself.  PUDR feels that the events of 18 July need to be seen in the context of the persistent struggle of the workers of the Manesar unit to register a union and draw attention to their working conditions even as we wait for the trial to conclude. In the course of the fact finding, PUDR team met the workers (contract, permanent and terminated), the union leaders, their lawyer as well as officials from the labour department, Gurgaon, and different police officials, including the Commissioner. All attempts to meet the management turned out to be futile because it did not give us appointment for a meeting despite our persistent efforts.

The present report follows in the wake of our two previous reports Hard Drive (2001) and Freewheelin’ Capital (2007) which recorded two previous crucial moments of the labour struggle at Maruti. While the first report documented how the gains made by workers of the then union started coming under attack, the second one highlighted the changing composition of the work-force. Both the reports have clearly established the acts of omission and commission of the state institutions in favouring the Maruti management.

Even as this report goes to print, the harassment of the workers by the police and the management is continuing and intensifying. It is of utmost importance, therefore, to document and publicise the issues at stake and locate the current situation in the context of workers’ exploitation and struggle at Maruti.

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