Strike Management And Trade Unions Management Essay
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY: The main objective of the study by the research paper is to understand the importance of trade union to the organization and vise verses.
What are the main functions of unions & how they work during strikes?
I predicted that throw trade union control would mediate the effects of job-related uncertainty, and that management communication and participation in decision-making would reduce uncertainty and increase feelings of control.
The model was tested in a public sector organization as well as government sector organization the results supported it. Management communication is easy throw the trade
What is a trade union?
A trade union or labor union is an organization of workers who have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labor contracts (collective bargaining) with employers.
This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies.
The agreements negotiated by the union leaders are binding on the rank and file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers.
Originating in Europe, labor unions became popular in many countries during the Industrial Revolution, when the lack of skill necessary to perform most jobs shifted employment bargaining power almost completely to the employers’ side, causing many workers to be mistreated and underpaid.
Trade union organizations may be composed of individual workers, professionals, past workers, or the unemployed. The most common, but by no means only, purpose of these organizations is “maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment
Over the last three hundred years, many trade unions have developed into a number of forms, influenced by differing political objectives. Activities of trade unions vary, but may include:
What are the functions of a trade union?]
Function and benefit of trade unions Association of workers to promote and protect the welfare, interests, and rights of its members; also called labor union
In the broadest sense, trade unions came about as a way to protect workers after the industrial revolution in England, where they were working 12 to 14 hour days 6 days a week for whatever the company owner decided he would pay them. Which of course was as little as possible.
Not that the need for trade unions was restricted to workers in England. A good read if you want to know what working conditions were like in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s would be Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, BUT BE WARNED there are some truly harrowing scenes in this book, and it’s publication in the 1920s caused such an uproar that the government created the FDA in an attempt to stop the worst excesses.
For a slightly gentler view of the life of the working classes around 1900 America, try Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie.
You should also research the Pullman Corporation, and the Carnegie Steel empire, both of which grabbed back a good part of what little they paid in wages by forcing employees to live in filthy, unmaintained hovels in company towns, and shop at the company store where, of course, they were charged super high prices for everything. If I recall, the first of the American trade unions, and one of the first to strike, were the Pullman car waiters, who were all poor blacks (and referred to, whatever his name might be, as “George”).
For many Americans, all the name Henry Ford means is paying his employees enough to be able to buy one of his cars (of course, you didn’t buy a Chevrolet if you worked for Ford.) The power of a union is that the union can collectively bargain for the best possible deal for all its members; not just wages, but the right to live anywhere you wanted and not just in company housing, the number of hours worked, medical benefits, and paid time off. The power of a union is also limited to the solidarity of the members, because the only thing a worker possessed was the ability to walk off the job, so it’s more effective if everyone walks out and stays out together. Of course, the loss of wages for a man who was earning maybe 6 dollars a week caused huge strain on poor families, and employers had no problem hiring non-union labor to come in and work for the strikers. Ford hated the unions and was the last of the car manufacturers to recognize the right of the workers to organize. The detective agency Pinkerton’s was originally created to break up strikes by Ford workers at the Dearborn plant in Michigan, and they cheerfully broke up picket lines with shotguns, Billy clubs, and anything else they saw fit, all the while protected or ignored by the police.
Many Americans are still prevented from organizing themselves into a union, as is evidenced by the struggle for recognition by the employees at Wal-Mart. Other Americans do not see the need for trade unions; after all, this is America and not Russia. But when you realize that in 1920 there was no medical insurance, no paid maternity leave, no paid day off for Labor Day (ironically Labor Day is to celebrate the gains made for American workers, but of course the Wal-Mart employees and many many others are still required to work on labor day) no paid day off for Presidents day. The right to a 5-day 40 hour workweek was not won until the 1950s. Bear in mind that ANYTHING an employer gives an employee comes directly out of his pocket. DO you think you would have all the benefits you have today if people had not given their lives to the Pinkerton thugs in Dearborn? No. You’d still be working 11 hours a day 6 days a week, with one day off for Christmas.
I strongly suggest you do a lot of reading and some internet research if you want to know why you have the benefits you do (and the European benefits, which are even better than yours, because unlike Americans, most European workers did not simply walk away from trade unions (largely, of course, because of the publicity generated by the connection between the Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa, and the Mob). That should get you started anyway. Be grateful to the unions.
OBJECTIVES OF TRADE UNION
Industrial Relations :- Trade unions are formed to protect and promote the interests of their members. Their primary function is to protect the interests of workers against discrimination and unfair labor practices.
Trade unions are form Representation
Trade unions represent individual workers when they have a problem at work. If an employee feels he is being unfairly treated, he can ask the union representative to help sort out the difficulty with the manager or employer. Unions also offer their members legal representation. Normally this is to help people get financial compensation for work-related injuries or to assist people who have to take their employer to courted to achieve the following objectives:
Negotiation is where union representatives, discuss with management, the issues which affect people working in an organization. There may be a difference of opinion between management and union members. Trade unions negotiate with the employers to find out a solution to these differences. Pay, working hours, holidays and changes to working practices are the sorts of issues that are negotiated. In many workplaces there is a formal agreement between the union and the company which states that the union has the right to negotiate with the employer. In these organizations, unions are said to be recognized for collective bargaining purposes.
Voice in decisions affecting workers
The economic security of employees is determined not only by the level of wages and duration of their employment, but also by the management’s personal policies which include selection of employees for layoffs, retrenchment, promotion and transfer. These policies directly affect workers. The evaluation criteria for such decisions may not be fair. So, the intervention of unions in such decision making is a way through which workers can have their say in the decision Member services
during the last few years, trade unions have increased the range of services they offer their members. These include:
Education and training – Most unions run training courses for their members on employment rights, health and safety and other issues. Some unions also help members who have left school with little education by offering courses on basic skills and courses leading to professional qualifications.
Legal assistance – As well as offering legal advice on employment issues, some unions give help with personal matters, like housing, wills and debt.
Financial discounts – People can get discounts on mortgages, insurance and loans from unions.
Welfare benefits – One of the earliest functions of trade unions was to look after members who hit hard times. Some of the older unions offer financial help to their members when they are sick or unemployed.
WHAT IS A ATRIKE?
A strike is when a group of workers agree to stop working.
They do this when they want to protest against something they think is unfair where they work.
Strikes sometimes happen so that politicians have to listen more carefully to the workers.
Why do workers go on strike?
Workers go on strike for different reasons:
to get improvements where they work
for more money
for shorter working days
to stop their wages going down
because they think their company has been unfair.
TYPES OF STRIKES
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) provides legal protections for two kinds of strikes, economic strikes and unfair labor practices strikes. The former is a strike that is undertaken by workers in order to garner improvements in their wages, benefits, hours, or working conditions. An unfair labor practices strike is an action that has far more serious legal implications for small business owners. This kind of strike occurs in instances where the employer allegedly violates NLRA rules that protect workers during collective bargaining. “Typical violations that prompt an unfair labor practices strike include refusing to pay benefits when they’re due, discharging an employee for engaging in union activities, and refusing to bargain in good faith,” reported J.D. Thorne in Small Business Reports. “An unfair labor practices strike not only threatens a loss of business, but also requires that you return picketing workers to their jobs when the strike ends. Therefore, you must fire loyal replacement workers who crossed the picket line to work-and helped keep your business afloat.” Businesses that do not do so are liable for back pay starting on the date that striking workers made their unconditional offer to return to work.
Given the added risks associated with an unfair labor practices strike, then, Thorne contended that “the most important aspect of managing an economic strike-the most common type-is to prevent it from becoming an unfair labor practices strike.” Thorne noted that employer actions that could trigger this transformation include blatant ones, such as discharging an employee for engaging in his or her right to strike or withholding benefits (earned vacation time, pension-plan eligibility, etc.) as well as more subtle ones that nonetheless violate the National Labor Relations Act. The issue of communications with union members, for instance, is rife with rules that can ensnare the unknowing small business owner. These communication rules apply both to the pre-strike and strike periods. Following are specific guidelines that small businesses should adhere to in negotiations:
Continue to bargain in good faith throughout the process. “Both sides have a continuing responsibility to engage in good faith collective bargaining,” wrote Thorne, “which means that you must meet with the union with the intent of reaching an agreement about the workers’ demands. Failure to do so also could convert the nature of a strike.
Provide unions with all information to which they are legally entitled. Under U.S. labor law, unions can request information about management’s plans regarding various operational aspects of the business during the strike. For example, the union can ask for information about where the business plans to get replacement workers and the wages that they will be paid.
Know management rights. Many legal protections are in place to protect workers from unfair management practices, but business owners have rights, too. Thorne noted, for instance, that businesses can discuss and clarify with striking employees how their proposal differs from that of the union leadership, and they can “ask employees to vote to accept your final offer when it’s presented for ratification.” Many strike situations also give them the option of utilizing replacement workers without penalty. Nonetheless, businesses should be aware that there are many legal “do’s and don’ts” associated with management-union interactions during collective bargaining and strike periods, and they should make sure that they have adequate legal representation to assist them in this area.
HOW TO MANAGING A STRIKE
The beginning of an employee strike is almost always a difficult period for small business owners. The adversarial nature of such actions can be jarring for company leaders who are unfamiliar with strikes, and the walk-out itself can threaten small-and midsized business owners with devastating economic consequences (large companies can be hurt by strikes, too, of course, but their very existence is not usually jeopardized). Given this reality, small business owners and their management teams must take steps to ensure that their companies will be able to continue their operations during the strike. As Brenda Paik Sunoo wrote in Personnel Journal, “a strike will inevitably pose challenges in many areas: managing contingent workers; setting up communication between management and all employees; maintaining customer service; establishing interim policies regarding benefits, overtime, vacations, and sick leave; and bolstering non-striking employees’ morale. Clearly, those that prepare well in advance will suffer the least trauma during and after a labor dispute.” Indeed, business experts universally agree that advance planning is key to managing a strike. They note that few companies can claim that they were caught flat-footed by a work stoppage. Most strikes occur when labor contracts expire, and even those that do not take place on such a specific date typically provide management with plenty of warning signs. Businesses that prepare for contract expirations and other potential strike periods by drawing up detailed contingency plans in advance will be much better equipped to weather a strike than will those firms that wait until the last minute. In recognition of this reality, Risk Management noted in 1998 that increasing numbers of companies have created management teams-sometimes called strike contingency planning teams (SCPTs)-to address potential strike issues.
Advance preparation efforts should cover a broad spectrum of operational areas. For example, businesses should have a plan in place to put together a contingent work force, whether comprised of replacements, non-striking employees (often supervisory personnel), or a combination of the two. A company that maintains information on recent job applicants, for example, may find itself better positioned to form a contingent work force than a firm that neglects to do so. Contingent work forces will also need training on a variety of issues, from duties to customer relations to legal matters (non-striking personnel already employed by the company may well need this training as well, since they will in many cases be undertaking unfamiliar tasks and interacting with customers and suppliers with whom they may not be familiar. Appropriate training programs should be in place well before a strike, not cobbled together after a strike actually occurs. Employers will also have to prepare interim policies governing various human resource issues for both striking and non-striking workers.
Companies facing strike actions should also make sure that their customers and suppliers are notified at appropriate times of that possibility. If your company suddenly announces to a major customer that your facility has been hit with a strike without providing that customer without any prior warning, you are likely to lose that customer for good, even after the labor dispute has been resolved. Businesses facing strikes should also make preparations for alternative service to valued clients and customers.
Another key to successful strike management, say labor experts, is for management to maintain a professional stance throughout. Many labor disputes disintegrate into intensely negative clashes, with repercussions that are felt long after the strike itself has been settled. Small business owners should do their best to prevent negotiations from becoming acrimonious. Owners who are capable of empathy with their striking employees’ concerns about job security and economic wellbeing will be better able to manage this than will those who automatically dismiss all work stoppages as solely an outgrowth of union greed.
Finally, business owners should plan ahead to make sure that they have adequate security if a strike takes place. “Strikes, by their very nature, are adversarial,” stated Sunoo. “They often are accompanied by disruptions in service and product delivery, and sometimes even violence.” Savvy businesses will contact local legal and governmental authorities in advance to discuss issues such as picket lines, responses to disturbances, etc. In addition, businesses at risk of being the target of a work stoppage will often need to hire security forces to monitor the premises and protect their contingent work force. The role of security is twofold, said one security expert in an interview with Personnel Journal: 1) providing managers and non-striking employees with assurances that they can go to work without being injured, and 2) gathering evidence of any strike-related misconduct on the part of strikers for later use in legal proceedings.
Companies seeking security service have a number of options from which to choose, including their own personnel, local off-duty law enforcement personnel, and local security firms that provide security guards. Experts recommend that companies seeking security help look to firms with previous strike experience and avoid local security firms unless they can get assurances that none of their guards have any meaningful social or familial relationship to any of the strikers.
SOME EXAMPLES OF ST RIKES:-
These are sudden unofficial strikes. They are not organized by a trade union, but union members might be involved.
Wildcat action can start because of what seems to be a small problem, like the length of a tea break or the treatment of one worker.
They might start small but if workers are angry with their bosses the strikes can spread fast and cause a lot of problems.
What are pickets?
Pickets are workers who are on strike that stand at the entrance to their workplace.
The purpose of picketing is:
to stop or persuade workers not to go to work
to tell the public about the strike
to persuade workers to take their union’s side .
1.Express staff threaten strike
Stephen Brook, press correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 November 2006 18.40 GMT
Union staff at Express newspapers will ballot for industrial action unless management withdraws its plans for 35 staff redundancies, a union meeting decided tonight.
The National Union of Journalists chapel committee for the Daily and Sunday Express and Daily and Sunday Star were due to tell management tonight of its resolution, which was passed by about 200 chapel members with one abstention and one no vote.
“This chapel demands that management immediately calls a halt to its plan for wholesale redundancies among staff and casuals,” the resolution stated.
“We instruct our officers to put in motion the necessary processes to ballot for industrial action should this not be immediately forthcoming.”
Late last Friday, the papers’ parent company, Northern & Shell, told chapel committee members it would make 35 job cuts and close the business section of the Daily Express, outsourcing it to the Press Association.
The union says this would result in up to 60 job losses, including casuals and other contributors.
Other cuts will also see the news and features production departments merge, as will the Daily and Sunday Express travel sections.
ABSTRACT FROM THE ABOVE:-
2. Government intervention to prevent airline mechanics strike
On February 9, the government’s National Mediation Board “released” the mechanics union at Northwest Airlines to prepare for a strike. This “release” came only after the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, the union for the 10,000 mechanics, carried out public picketing, saying the board was taking the company’s side and holding the contract hostage.
The mechanics have been working four and a half years without a new contract. The old one they were stuck with contained big wage concessions. Meanwhile the company has been reaping big profits.
Nevertheless, even while “releasing” the union for a strike, the board declared a 30-day “cooling off period.” It also urged President Bush to prevent any strike, saying a strike “threatens substantially to deprive a section of the country of essential transportation service,” meaning the near monopoly of Northwest Airlines at the Minneapolis-St Paul, Detroit and Memphis airports. The Bush Administration issued a statement that it wasn’t going to allow a strike to occur.
All the members of the National Mediation Board were appointed by President Clinton. The three person board from the start had a majority of management members. Its chairman, Francis Duggan, was a vice president of the Association of American Railroads; member Magdalena Jacobsen was a labor relations manager for Continental Airlines.
In 1997, Clinton broke the American Airlines pilots strike after 7 minutes by appointing an “emergency board” to oversee the situation. Now Bush is announcing he will do the same thing Clinton did.
When in gets down to basics -like preventing strikes -the only difference between a Democrat and a Republican is whether they smile at you when plunging in the knife.
3. Air India pilots to go on strike from 24 Nov
“The Air India management came unprepared for the meeting,” claimed Otaal
Mumbai: The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association, or ICPA, at state-owned airline Air India, on Monday, said it will strike work beginning 24 November. The decision comes after a Monday meeting with the Central Labour Commissioner and Air India management was inconclusive.
“The talks were inconclusive. The Central Labour Commissioner has called for another meeting on 20 November but we are going ahead with our strike decision and we will serve a strike notice tomorrow in two week advance,” said ICPA general secretary R. S. Otaal told Mint on the telephone. ICPA currently has at least 800 members.
A spokesperson for National Aviation Co of India Ltd or Nacil, that runs Air India, declined comment for this story.
“The Air India management came unprepared for the meeting,” claimed Otaal. “Our demand is the same about clearing salary dues. We are fed up with the dues from the productivity linked incentives (PLIs).”
The cash-strapped airline had suggested a 50% cut in the PLI to save save about Rs700 crore. PLIs currently account for 30% to 50% of Air India employees’ wages. PLIs have not been paid since August.
The national carrier, which has cumulative losses of Rs7,226 crore for financial years 2008 and 2009, has asked the government for a loan and equity infusion of around Rs15,000 core. Air India’s borrowings increased to Rs15,241 crore at the end of June, up from Rs6,550 crore in November 2007.
4. India airport strike threatens to paralyze travel
Airport workers across India threatened to strike at midnight on Tuesday, a move that could ground hundreds of commercial flights and leave…
NEW DELHI – Airport workers across India threatened to strike at midnight on Tuesday, a move that could ground hundreds of commercial flights and leave tens of thousands of passengers stranded.
The threatened strike is over plans to privatize two major airports, but workers are expected to join in at 127 other state-run airports – nearly every airport in India except New Delhi and Mumbai, the two busiest airports, which are already privately run.
S. R. Santhanam, a leader of the airport workers union, said the decision to launch an open-ended strike starting at midnight Tuesday was made after talks with the government broke down Monday.
“No talks are scheduled unless the government sends a message,” he said, adding that some 15,000 airport workers, including baggage handlers, cleaners and ground staff would go on strike.
The dispute between stems from a government plan to privatize new airports in the southern cities of Hyderabad and Bangalore, a move that union says will endanger the jobs of hundreds of employees.
Airport authorities plan to shift all commercial activity from the cities’ old airports to the new ones when they open in coming weeks.
Hyderabad and Bangalore are both large cities that are home to several major multinational corporations as well as scores of thriving information technology companies.
The government plans to use the old airports for disaster management and flights carrying government leaders, aviation ministry spokeswoman Moushmi Chakravarty said. Chakravarty said the private operators would retain the employees. However, the unions worry that there could be future layoffs.
Subhash Goyal, chairman of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, said any strike could cost the booming aviation sector millions of dollars.
“It will have a tremendous impact on travelers,” he said.
India’s airline industry has grown dramatically in recent years as rising incomes and loosened regulations put air travel within reach of millions of new customers.
In the early 1990s, Indian Airlines was the country’s single carrier, but Indian authorities opened up the airways and since then about a dozen airlines have opened for business, leading to a heated competition and low prices.
5. Strike and police brutality at Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, 2005
Submitted by Steven. on Jan 8 2010 01:00
Prol-Position on the violent, month-long strike/lockout of HMSI workers in India in 2005, which ended with the employers giving into many of the workers’ demands.
The following summary relies entirely on media reports – we couldn’t get hold of any first hand reports from comrades.
The month-long strike/lock-out at HMSI and the police attack on the workers caused a big stir in India. This is mainly due to the location ofÂ the strike: a modern factory of a multinational company in a developing region which up to that point was not seen as prone to industrial disputes. The conflict at Honda threatened to become a spark in a generally tense atmosphere within India’s modern international industry. Therefore the police brutality against the workers can’t be understood as a mere response to a single workers’ struggle, but must rather be explained by the general situation in the new investment zones (see also Newsletter 3 on call centers in India). In order to understand the political significance of the dispute for the Indian economy we recommend you read the detailed analysis of the Indian group Rupee. They describe the increased dependence of the Indian economy on foreign capital influx since the crash in 1991, the new privatization schemes and the other, dark side, of “India Shining” (the Indian boom).
About the Region
Gurgaon is situated in the state of Haryana, close to New Delhi, a town in a rural area without any tradition of workers’ struggles. The new town centre is characterized by modern office blocks and shopping malls. Companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Nokia have their headquarters here. The government of Haryana implemented strict anti-union labor laws in order to attract further foreign investment. The industrial zone mushroomed during the last five years and comprises 90 factories, with a large share of companies in the automobile sector. About 70 percent of all motor-scooters produced in India are said to be produced in this region. Japanese companies play an important role, given that Japan is India’s fourth biggest foreign investor and about three quarters of all Japanese companies in India are situated in Gurgaon. The AITUC is the most important union in Gurgaon, it is supported by the CPI(M). The Communist Parties of India have a difficult role to play. On the one hand, they have to make an effort to appear to support the workers, including by “patriotic propaganda” against foreign investors. On the other, they have the duties of governing parties. West Bengal is a CP-led state and attracts the second greatest amount of foreign investment of all Indian states. Shortly before the incidents in Gurgaon the government of West Bengal signed a 500 Million US-Dollar deal with Mitsubishi.
The Situation in the Modern Industrial Sector
The struggle in Gurgaon took place against the background of various conflicts within the modern industrial sector which often resulted in significant wage improvements for the workers. At HMSI the management claims that the workers already received a 100 percent wage raise in the previous year. In June 2005 the workers at Toyota in Bangalore demanded a 100 percent wage increase. The management promised 25 percent and was able to avoid industrial action. At the car part suppliers Speedo ax, Hitachi Electrics and Omax Auto, all situated in Gurgaon, industrial disputes were only settled a few days before the police attack on the HMSI workers. Apart from a booming, but still modest, automobile export industry more and more electronic device companies (mobile phones etc.) are opening their factories in India. Companies like Solectron and Flextronics have recently increased their investment in the sub-continent. The individual ownership of mobile phones has increased from 6 million in 2000 to 50 million in 2005 and is supposed to grow by 20 million each year. The automobile export sector is still confined to a few companies and models (Toyota, Hyundai, Ford, Fiat, Skoda, Suzuki and Mahindra), exporting about 130,000 cars in 2004, but the sector, particularly the car component industry, is growing.
About the factory
The factory is modern, only four years old. The plant churns out 2,000 scooters per day and employs about 1,900 to 2,500 workers. In 2004 HMSI is said to have sold 550,000 scooters in India. Scooters and other two-wheelers are still the most important means of motorised transport in India. In 2003-04 about 5,625,000 motorcycles were sold, compared to 850,000 cars. Most of the workers are hired by subcontractors or only get daily contracts. The wages are poor, securing mere survival. A lot of workers come from the surrounding small villages or even from other states and they rely on the company’s bus service.
The Cause of the Conflict
The conflict began in December 2004 after a manager allegedly hit a worker, who was said to be engaged in organizing a union within the plant. Another four workers were sacked after they expressed their solidarity with their workmate. The official justification for the dismissals was “undisciplined behavior in the factory”. The whole situation came to boiling point when the management sacked another 57 workers and nearly all the workers in the factory reacted by going on strike in June 2005. At the end of June 2005 the management replied by officially sacking 1,000 workers and locking out the strikers.
About the Strike
27th of June: Workers from the surrounding villages are not fetched by the company buses. The management wants to force them to sign a declaration saying that they renounce further demands and strikes.
10th of July: According to media reports, about 38 percent of the workers are still working, some of them are recently hired temps and redeployed office workers. For two days different sources speak about 200 workers still producing. The production is said to be down, only 30 percent of normal volume. In June the total sales of the scooter Unicorn decreased by 66.5 percent compared to the previous month.
13th of July: The employers’ association of the automotive supplying industries (ACMA) demands that the government takes steps against the strike at Honda, complaining about the negative impact on the situation in other plants in the region.
17th of July: The media reports that the company has already lost 200 Million US-Dollars due to the conflict. There are also reports on large numbers of police troops being deployed in Gurgaon, arriving from various nearby towns. Unionists talk about the first acts of intimidation from police and management. The management offers to let 100 locked-out workers return to work.
25th of July: Between 2,000 and 3,000 workers of the Honda plant demonstrate in Gurgaon, supported by family members and employees of other factories. Near the factory some initial scuffles break out, but the demonstration continues. Workers are said to have tried to occupy the nearby Highway 8. Allegedly without warning the police attack the protestors with long bamboo batons, tear gas and rubber bullets. The television shows pictures of policemen hitting already unconscious workers. One worker is said to have died right on the street. The reported number of injured people varies between 300 and 800 and a lot of them have serious head injuries and broken limbs. The fights continue, people start to riot, burn police cars and buses and loot shops. There are pictures on tally showing groups of women chasing policemen with their own batons. About 300 workers are arrested, about 60-80 are still in custody at the end of August, some charged with attempted murder.
26th of July: Workers, family members and friends search in hospitals and police stations for protestors who are still missing. Later on a union lawyer claims to have seen police beat an arrested demonstrator to death and then burn him. On the
26th of August Indian newspapers announce that 28 workers are still missing. More riots break out which continue the following day.
28th of July: A solidarity strike takes place in Gurgaon, called for by left parties. The participation is low. An India-wide day of protest is announced for the 1st of August.
1st of August: Production is officially resumed, but only 800 to 900 scooters are produced per day. Arbitration proceedings take place, but no representative of the workers is admitted.
About the Results of the Strike
In total the company lost about 1.2 Billion Rupees due to the strike. The media presented the result of the strike as following: All dismissed workers are re-hired, under the condition that they sign a so-called ‘good-conduct’ declaration promising to abstain from further demands and strikes. The workers are granted a wage increase for the year, although we couldn’t find any info on the exact amount. There is contradictory information on the question of whether the days of the strike will be paid or not. Some sources say that all strike days in May and June will be paid, others say that they won’t. The AITUC demands the release of all workers still in custody and union recognition in the company.
About the Reaction to the Strike
The strike and the police attacks got huge public attention and caused diplomatic tension between India and Japan. Prime Minister Singh met representatives of the left parties in a special session in order to consult over the strike and its consequences. On the second day of rioting the chairman of the governing Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, came to Gurgaon for mediation talks. The Japanese ambassador told the media that the strike would endanger future investment by Japanese companies.
Managers of automobile companies operating in the region expressed their concern that the strike could have negative effects on the production climate in their plants. On television there were hundreds of SMS messages expressing solidarity with the Honda workers. The daily newspapers and political magazines published several articles asking whether the strike is a prelude to a wave of new struggles in the multinational companies, after a general decline of strike activity since 2000. The Hindu nationalist opposition party BJP talked about “national security”, which according to their opinion would be harmed by foreign investment. The CP was also trying to play the patriotic trick and announced a general strike against the changes in the labour law in September. Against the background of the strike the bosses were publicly discussing the need for reformed labor laws. They demanded, amongst other things, that strikes would have to be announced three weeks beforehand and that an approval of 75 percent of all workers in the plant would be required as the legal precondition for the dispute. In addition, for each day of wildcat strike the bosses want to make the workers pay a fine of eight days’ wages!