Now in its fifth day, a rare struggle that has contract and permanent workers looking out for each other.
Workers of Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) began an indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar on September 19, to protest the repressive working conditions at the Honda factory in Tapukara, Rajasthan. They filed a petition to unionise on August 6, 2015 to protect contractual workers from exploitative conditions at the plant. In the following months, between September 2015 to February 2016, the company terminated over 700 contract workers.
Their two demands include reinstating all terminated and suspended workers and withdrawing all civil and criminal cases filed against the workers.
The turmoil worsened when on February 16 this year, a contract worker refused to work overtime for a third consecutive day. A senior supervisor physically assaulted the worker. In response, workers gathered to protest the brutality when they allegedly faced coercion and lathi-charge by the police and Honda management. Over the following days around 70 workers were charged with criminal cases under the IPC.
After the February protests, the company fired around 2,000 contract workers and over 400 permanent workers. Around 280 contract workers have been reinstated by the management but the status of the remaining terminated and suspended permanent workers, along with over 2,000 contract workers remains unresolved.