Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Workers' Struggle in India

The following is a message about an ongoing workplace struggle in India that I have just received -

WORKERS OF PEPSICO FOODS LTD ON INDEFINITE STRIKE MERCILESSELY BEATEN BY HIRED GOONS, ABOUT A DOZEN INJURED.

FARMERS, AGRICULTURE WORKERS' UNIONS AND OTHER PEOPLES' DEMOCRATIC ORGANISATIONS ANNOUNCED THEIR SUPPORT AND FORMED A JOINT ACTION COMMITTEE

(Dear friends please forward this information)
PepsiCo Foods India Ltd is a MNC in the district of Sangrur of Punjab on the highway connecting Patiala and Sangrur. The management of the factory always tried their best to ensure that a union of workers may not be formed in the factory. Whenever workers tried to organise themselves either they transferred the leaders to far off places or sometimes leaders sold their conscience and were given better positions in the hierarchy.

The workers of the factory who are approximately 280 and the number of contractual workers is 450. The regular workers started the formation of a union in a secret way. But the management immediately suspended their leader Sanjeev Kumar.

The management on 12-04-2007 suspended Sanjeev Kumar for instigating workers against management and for also taking more leave in 2007. An enquiry was going on and he was dismissed on 2-08-08. Four other workers were also suspended on very silly grounds that they are associated with union activities. On 5-5-08 the workers union got registered with the name PepsiCo India holdings workers union No.23 which got affiliated to AITUC.

Since 15-06-06 management started harassing the workers.
On 19-08-08 at 2.00 p.m. all workers started Dharana. Since then the the production of Uncle Chips Kurkure and other such products has stopped.

On 23rd of August a heavy police force came at about 7.30 a.m. with about 220 workers (almost 100%) on the gate. Suddenly the owners and drivers of the Truck Union from the nearby town of Bhawanigarh came. They insisted on getting their trucks inside to get them loaded. The workers protested. Workers blocked the gates by lying down on the gate. The truckers started beating the workers with lathis but police were watching the whole scene silently. About one dozen workers got injured. Villagers from surrounding area gathered in thousands in a few minutes and they resisted the truckers and then the villagers blocked the national highway for about six hours. Only then civil administration became active.

Up to now the management has dismissed the president of the union on very silly charges and suspended another nine workers.
On 25th August dozens of peasant organisations especially the farmer's organisation reached the factory gate in support of the struggle of the Pepsi workers. An action committee is formed by these organisations and a huge protest rally is organised for 1st September at the gate of Pepsi.

Three rounds of negotiations have taken place between management, civil administration, union representatives and some representatives of the surrounding villages. Management is reluctant to reinstate the president of the Union.
--


Pepsico India details for protests -

Pepsi Foods Private Limited

3B, DLF Corporate Park, 'S' Block, Qutab Enclave, Phase-III
Gurgaon - 122002
Haryana, India
Tel: 0124-2355880 Email: corporate.communications@intl.pepsico.com

If you would like to contact Customer Care, please email consumer.feedback@intl.pepsico.com or call 1800224020


This comes amidst a rising tide of workers' struggles in India -

See here
and here

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