Parties in power have changed – the struggle of workers continues
July 25 marked the 10th anniversary of the brutal attack on the Hero Honda workers in Gurgaon. The incident rattled even the die-hard supporters of the programmes of liberalisation, not so much that they cared for the well being and rights of the workers, but for the fear that this may become the harbinger for revival of the labour movement. Worse, it was captured live on television cameras, bringing back the memories of Jalianwala Bagh, by its sheer brutality and the manner in which it was executed. The modus operandi was similar – launching a savage attack on unarmed, peacefully gathered people after trapping them in a fixed area and closing all escape routes.
Just over one year had passed when Congress led UPA had been placed in power and entrusted by the India Inc. to carry on with the programme of globalisation through privatisation and liberalisation with the slogan of “inclusive growth”. The earlier government of Vajpayee’s BJP led NDA with its “shining India” slogan had been completely discredited. At the time of this attack, Congress was ruling both at the center and in the state of Haryana. The brutal attack showed the real face of the state irrespective of the party in power.
As was rightly feared by the supporters of liberalisation, the incident became the harbinger of united struggle in the area dotted by number of manufacturing units, both Indian and multi-national. The voice that the workers of Hero Honda raised to assert and defend their right to form their own union, that will defend their interests, found its echo in number of struggle that erupted with recurring frequency, including RICO Motors, Orient Craft, Maruti Suzuki in the same area. Despite the fact the hundreds of young workers who participated in the struggles, have been implicated in false cases and incarcerated for month and years without trial, the spirit of the young working has not broken.
The past one decade saw workers in increasing numbers raising barricades against the onslaught of oppression. The meeting to commemorate the 10th anniversary proved this. Thousands of young women and men workers with their families participated in the anniversary function.
Today at both the state and at the centre BJP led NDA is in power and the struggle of workers to assert their rights to organise and form their own union continues unabated.