Info in English below.
400 kontraktsanställda underbetalda arbetare vid det svenska företaget Alfa Lavals fabrik i Pune, Indien, strejkar sedan den 1 oktober.
I Pune, Indien, har Alfa Laval en fabrik med 800 anställda. 540 av de 800 anställda är kontraktsanställda. Det innebär att de inte är direktanställda av företaget. 402 av dem gick i strejk den 1 oktober 2013. De arbetar alla på produktionslinjen i fabriken. De har arbetat för Alfa Laval sedan lång tid, vissa av dem mer än 15 år. De tjänar mellan 8 och 10.000 rupies (motsvarar ca 900 – 1100 svenska kr) per månad. De fast anställda tjänar 30-40.000 rupies (ca 3000-3800 sek) per månad.Den 15 september skickade de kontraktsanställda ett brev till ledningen och krävde att bli fast anställda. Eftersom de inte fick något svar på brevet gick de ut i strejk. Alfa Laval har svarat med att lockouta de strejkande, som nu sitter framför fabriksgrindarna. Även hungerstrejker har genomförts. På grund av strejken ligger produktionen i fabriken på cirka 30 % av den normala nivån. Alfa Laval har förlorat cirka 16 miljoner euro fram till idag (21 november) sedan den 1 oktober.Den 12 november uppmanade arbetsdomstolen Alfa Laval att ta arbetarna tillbaka, men företaget vägrade och nu går frågan till en annan domstol. Företaget vägrar att förhandla med fackföreningen som företräder de kontraktsanställda , Rashtree Shramik Agardi.Alfa Laval är inte det enda företag som utnyttjar underbetalda kontraktsanställda i Indien och strejken är inte en isolerad händelse. Kontraktsanställda i en närliggande fabrik nära Simmons – Marshall strejkade i maj/juni och fick fast anställning. I en annan stad i Maharashtra är 600 kontraktsanställda ute i strejk för att få reglerade anställningsavtal.
Här kan man se en video från en av de strejkandes protester:
”The shirtless action was done on Diwali in early November. Diwali is like Christmas in India with everybody buying stuff from nice clothes to cars and burning fireworks like in news years eve. The workers took off their shirts on that day in order to show that they have nothing on a day when everybody else gives presents to their families or buys nice things.”
Berättelse från arbetarna:
The workers say they feel helpless and they are worn out, given that it is now almost 2 months that they sit in front of the factory gate with no response from the management. Also, the nights are getting colder in Pune and the city saw some heavy rainfalls in the last days. The workers are 24 hours in the tent in front of the factory, most of the time 100 or 200 at the same time. Anuj Kumar, 35, is one of them. He comes, like many workers in the factory, from rural areas around Pune and got a diploma as a wielder from one of the Indian Technological Institutes run by the state.
Kumar has two children and he has to pay rent from his small salary of around 100 Euros per month. He works for Alva Laval since 15 years. He points at the factory and he says ”This is not just a workplace for us, we feel this is our house, our home, because we spent so much time here”. Relatives help out with money, so the family can make a living without a wage during the strike. But this is a situation familiar to Kumar.
Whenever Alfa Laval does not need his work, he is delayed for some time, without prior notice. In this time, he has to find other jobs in other factories and then suddenly they call him again and need his workforce urgently. He says its absurd that sometimes permanent workers that earn triple of his income come to him and ask him for technical details of the work. He feels that his skills and his work experience are not recognized by the company, because he is still in this insecure position, after all these years.
The workers who earn just this small amount of money live in small houses with 1 or 2 rooms. In these districts where they can afford the rent, the water supply is irregular and power cuts of sometimes a few hours a day are normal.
The swedish company Alfa Laval produces heat exchangers for pharma and food industry, but also for the oil and energy sector.
On their website, they say they have 28 major production units, 15 in Europe, 8 in Asia, 4 in the Us and 1 in Latin America. The company claims to have 16000 employees worldwide.
In Pune, India, 3 hours from Mumbai, Alfa Laval has a plant with 800 workers. Of these workers, 60 are permanent workers, another 200 are permanent workers under a different legal status, called junior management cadre (JMC). This category JMC is used to deprive workers the rights according to labour law. However, both of these groups are unionized under two different trade unions internal to the company.540 of the 800 workers are contract workers that are not directly employed by the company. 402 of them went on strike in October 1st, 2013. They all work on the production line. The contract workers have been employed in the company since a long time, some of them more than 15 years. The contract workers earn between 8 and 10.000 Rupies (which is between 100 and 120 euro) a month. The permanent workers and JMC earn between 30 and 40.000 Rupies (330 to 430 euro) a month.
The contract workers sent a letter to the management demanding to be made permanent on September 15, 2013. As there was no response to the letter, they went on strike. Due to the strike, all contract workers were dismissed and they sit in front of the factory gate. Between October 15 and October 20, 15 of the workers went on death-fast. After six of them fainted and had to get medical treatment, they changed the tactics and went to Chakri strike: Workers don’t eat for 12 hours and then another worker comes and takes the shift of hunger strike.
The output of the company is around 30 % of the normal output due to the strike, which means they are losing a lot of money, about 16 million Euros until today (21st of November) since October 1st.
On November 12, the Labour Commissioner ordered that the company would have to take the workers back, but the company refused and now the case is going to another court. Until now, the company refuses to negotiate with the trade union representing the contract workers.The contract workers are organized in a trade union called Rashtree Shramik Agardi which is member of the national union federation INTUC (close to the Congress Party).Nothing has been published on the strike apart from local newspapers and one article in a national newspaper in India. Pressure on the Swedish headquarter would be important to enhance the pressure.
The strike is not an isolated incident as contract workers from a neighbouring factory close by Simmons-Marshall did the same in May/June and got regular contracts. Currently, in another city in Maharashtra, 600 contract workers in the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences in Nashik are on strike, too, for regularisation of work contracts.
FOTON FRÅN DE STREJKANDE ARBETARNAS AKTIONER OCH KLIPP FRÅN TIDNINGAR: