Video uploaded on Youtube by one of the protesters
It is the longest labour strike in any company of Gujarat in recent years. However not all labours are on strike. The strike is partial as there are two unions in Halol plant and the newer one which is the labour union affiliated with the Congress party has caused the strike.
-Gujarat government considers this strike as a spoiler that is spoiling state’s reputation as peaceful industrial state. Chief Minister Narendra Modi time and again pronounces in his speeches at industrial functions that in Gujarat not a single day is wasted in labour unrest.
-And therefore, from smallest rank labour official to Policemen and entire state administration is rock-solidly backing General Motors India. 144 has been imposed in the area where GM plant is located. This helps Police to act strictly against any gathering anywhere around the car manufacturing plant and other places that involves more than four persons. Labours want to challenge this imposition of section 144.
-After a meeting with the Chief Minister, GM officials feel powerful enough to neglect those workers on the strike completely. Replacing them with newer persons is one option which is being actively pursued.
-Labours who have not earned their bread and butter for last one month due to ongoing protest are obviously now in problem. They are now in supreme aggressive mood to save their job, and get something out of this struggle. They protested much at Halol plant, but they felt they were neglected. Now they have come to Vadodara where their protest is on centred around district labour office. Yesterday they were pulled out of the premises by force by local Police. However pulling out each and every labour was difficult for Police.
-So they come in General Motors uniform, and do sit protest inside the building where district’s highest labour department official sits. They shout slogans, give interview to media persons, and sit for long hours expressing their anger towards the situation which is not moving and seeming like a dead lock.
-When media persons asked to say something about this stage of their struggle, three different employees termed General Motors India as a foreign company. They also compared GM with East India company. Many of their placards were mentioning phrases narrating GM as foreign company(Videshi company).
-One GM worker raised the question that how a company could transfer an employee who earns Rs. 7,000 per month outside the state without giving anything extra? “How a person can sustain? Transfer should be revoked.”
-Another GM worker complained about what he felt exploitation at Halol plant. This worker told media that the workers are compelled to work for seven long hours in a position that creates back pain. “There’s too much load on workers added by mental harassment, it’s sheer exploitation.”
-Almost all the workers are motivated by recent fast-unto-death agitation of Anna Hazare. Each worker participating in this agitation believes that if Anna Hazare could shake the central government by agitation, they too can do same, and can bend the labour department and GM company’s management.