The New Trade Union Initiative condemns the arrest of 14 workers of Daikin Air-conditioning India Private Limited and the brutal and unprovoked attack on workers, by Rajasthan police, for leading the All India General Strike on 8 January 2019 in Neemrana, Rajasthan.
Members of the Daikin Air Conditioner Workers’ Union along with other workers employed in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor in Neemrana went on strike in large numbers against the anti-worker, anti-people policies of the BJP government. Daikin workers held a peaceful rally which culminated in hoisting of the union flag at the factory gate.
Police forces working at the behest of management along with management hired bouncers lathi-charged the peaceful assembly of workers, shooting at them with rubber bullets and tear gas cannisters. Over 40 workers were grievously injured and had to be hospitalised. The police have filed dubious FIRs against 17 named and 700 unnamed workers, concocting charges under Sections 147, 148, 149, 332, 353, 307, 427 and 336 of IPC – unlawful assembly, rioting, damaging property, attempt to murder and causing grievous hurt to a public servant. The police arrested 14 workers (Mahesh, Surendra Kumar, Ghanshyam, Jagdev, Deep Singh, Ajay, Sukhram, Avinash Chand, Praveen Kumar, Pankaj Chaudhary, Ranjeet Kumar, Ajay Thakur, Sunil Kumar and Lal Chand) at midnight 8th January who were denied bail at Behror Court. The arrested workers are not among the 17 named in the FIR.
The Neemrana region of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, housing factories of numerous global manufactures is a “union-free” zone where workers’ rights are trampled without pause. Daikin workers have been under constant attack for many years now for wanting to register a union of their choice. The attack has intensified in the last year when the workers finally managed to get their union registered. This unprovoked violence by the police, at the behest of the Daikin management, is directly aimed at this victory of the workers and thereby seeking to stifle the voices of workers and denying them their hard fought right to form a trade union of choice.
The NTUI salutes the members of the Daikin Air Conditioner Workers Union and the workers of Neemrana who have been courageously raising their voices against suppression of their rights and hostile working conditions.
The NTUI lends unequivocal support to the Union and all victimised workers as it also stands with the families of those injured and arrested under spurious charges.
The NTUI demands:
• Immediate release of all workers arrested on 8 January 2019.
• Immediate withdrawal of the FIR filed against the 17 named workers and 700 other unnamed people.
• Police action against management hired bouncers who attacked the striking workers
• Government of Rajasthan institute a probe into the malicious and unprovoked actions of the Neemrana Police.
• Government of Rajasthan takes such steps that are necessary to ensure that the Daikin management stops engaging in unfair labour practices and
• Government of Rajasthan ensures the functioning of its tripartite labour machinery such that the Daikin management negotiates in good faith with the Daikin Air Conditioner Workers’ Union.
An attack on one worker’s right to form and join a union of choice is an attack on every workers right to freedom of association!