Locking Out Workers – Fact Finding Report

June 23, 2014 by
Filed under: Reports From Other Organizations! 

A Citizens’ Fact-finding Report on the Lockout and Subsequent Events at Stump, Schuele, and Somappa Springs Private Limited, Hosur Road, Bangalore, 2014

Read / Download the full report here

Stumpp, Schuele and Somappa Springs Private Limited (hereinafter
SSSPL) is, arguably, the leading manufacturer of springs for cars,
two-wheelers and commercial vehicles, for clients like Maruthi
Udyog, Tata, Hyundai, TVS, Toyota, Bajaj etc. However, over the
past two months, it has been in the news for some of its labour
practices, which have also caught the attention of civil society
organisations. The workers of this factory were at its gates claiming
that the management had declared a lockout at its Hosur Road
factory for its contract workers on 1st March 2014, and, five days
later, for its permanent workers, and that all these workers were
suddenly rendered jobless, and their families face an insecure and
bleak future on the street.

After declaring a lockout on their workers who were Union
members, the management illegally brought in more than 100
workers from other states (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Tripura,
Jharkhand, Odisha, and Bihar) and from the northern districts of
Karnataka to resume production. This was discovered in a surprise
inspection by a team of officials from the Revenue Department
following a directive of Karnataka State Human Rights Commission,
which had received a complaint in this regard. The team of officials
found that the new temporary employees were working in
‘inhuman conditions’, sleeping on empty cartons on the rooftop;
they were not allowed to go outside the factory and were treated
like bonded labourers.

On 7th April, the state government passed orders prohibiting the
lockout declared by the management of permanent and contract
workers, hence requiring the management to lift the lockout with
immediate effect. On the 9th of April, the management lifted the
lockout, but only for the permanent workers. On the 11th of April,
the permanent workers resumed work on the guarantee that the
contract workers would also allowed to go back to work.

However, till date, the contract workers have not been allowed
inside. The management, instead, has taken the stand that only
contract workers of its choice would be allowed to resume work
while those who were active as union leaders would not be given
back their jobs. Even this is subject to two conditions. First, the
existing union would have to agree to only represent the
permanent workers and make the necessary changes in its
constitution. Second, there should be no outside leadership of
the union, and all the office bearers should be permanent workers.
We have also been informed that the permanent workers who
have resumed work are being subject to harassment tactics by
the management in order to break the union.
With a view to finding out more about the lockout incident, a
group of concerned citizens, comprising civil society activists,
including members of human rights organizations, formed a team
and decided to undertake a fact-finding investigation into the
circumstances that led to the lockout, the players involved in the
incident, as well as the impact of the lockout on the factory’s
workers.

Read / Download the full report here

 

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