Rico Automobile Worker Murdered in Gurgaon, Haryana

Worker’s Unity Trade Union

On October 18th 2009, Ajeet Yadav an employee of the automobile firm RICO Pvt. Ltd, was brutally murdered by the hired goons of the factory management. The workers in the factory for some time were trying to form their own union and the management was determined not to let the workers unite. On October 20, to protest the death of their fallen comrade Ajeet Yadav, the militant workers from all the major factories in the Gurgaon industrial centre came on street and called for a general strike. Worker’s Unity Trade Union was part of this working class solidarity, with our members joining the meetings and demonstration. This account is based on a Hindi pamphlet that was issued and circulated amongst workers in Gurgaon and Delhi.

The incident that occurred in RICO Pvt Ltd. Gurgoan, has once again demonstrated, that the working class would not remain a mute spectator to the exploitation and humiliation that they are being subjected to every day by the management and contractors of the companies. This incident is not an isolated event, but is one of the many such incidents that the country has witnessed since the alleged ‘murder’ of the CEO of Graziano company in NOIDA almost one year ago followed by another incident in Coimbatore (Tamilnadu). These events have revealed the true face of capitalist exploitation that is going on in the industries all over India. This is shining India’s true face, where workers are subjected to all sorts of humiliation and their rights are trampled upon with impunity. These growing incidents of working class mass action clearly demonstrate that the workers are now not ready to take any more suffering and humiliation lying low, they are ready to protest and struggle for their rights and liberties.

In Rico, a company with a consolidated turnover of over US$ 285 million (Rs. 1100 Crore) per annum, workers’ rights were violated with impunity and they were subjected to treatment not even fit for animals. When the workers decided to organise themselves and form their Union to sort out their grievances, the management on 21st September 2009, arbitrarily sacked the services of 17 workers who were in the frontline of this activity, with the charge of indiscipline levied against them. It may be remembered that the Constitution of India under Article 19 (1) (C) grants fundamental right to all citizens to form associations or unions. This move of the management not only is against the provisions of the Constitution of India it is also a case of unfair labour practice.

Instead of agreeing to this genuine workers’ demand the management of Rico resorted to intimidation and sacking of the workers abetted by the state and its armed police who have now started acting as the private mercenary of these capitalists. Ajeet Yadav, a worker of the same factory, was killed when ‘bouncers with guns’ employed by the company management tried to break up a peaceful protest by over a thousand employees demanding better wages and work conditions. The police instead of arresting the culprit here are trying to protect them by saying that Ajeet Yadav was killed when some workers were trying to prevent other workers from going in the factory. This clearly demonstrates with whom the state government and police are. This is not the first time when workers have been subjected to such exploitation. Let us not forget that a few years ago in the same Gurgaon, protesting workers of Honda factory were brutally beaten by the lathi and arms wielding police force on orders from the Honda factory’s owners, when they were demanding a better wage and working condition. Till date the government has not taken action against any of the management or the guilty policemen, but on the other hand have only arrested and further harassed the workers and their representatives.

In protest of this brutal killing and to demonstrate their collective will towards their belligerent comrade workers not only from the Rico Pvt. Ltd. but also from other companies Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), Microtech, component makers Lumax, Sunbeam and Caparo Maruti, to name a few came out on streets of Gurgaon and organised a massive demonstration cum strike demanding the culprits to be booked and jailed. More than one lakh angry workers from the various companies joined in a strike on 20th October bringing the entire Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt to a near standstill. They were demanding immediate action to be taken against the guilty and to enforce a better pay and working conditions for them including the right to form their own union.

The incident has demonstrated that this government is the government of the factory owners and the rich, they have openly come out in support of factory owners and their hired goons; against the working class who were not demanding the sky but decent working condition with honour. This and the previous such incidents also demonstrate that the working class have no one else to rely upon but themselves. The employers and the government are one, and the workers have to deal with them together. If the exploitation has to end then the workers would have to organise themselves and collectively take action to fight for their dignity and rights. Let us not harbour any illusion that the government or anyone else would come and help us, it is only by forming our own organisation and acting in unison that the days of exploitation would end and a new dawn would usher.

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