Car Workers taking part in an indefinite strike at the Hindustan Motors factory in Uttarpara, in the Indian state of West Bengal, were brutally assaulted by police last week.
This was the latest episode in a struggle that is fuelling growing anger with the Communist-led government in the state.
Officers armed with long truncheons attacked pickets and arrested union activists who have been taking action for more than a month.
The strike follows the dismissal of two leaders and the victimisation of more than 100 others.
The confrontation at the plant, which employs 4,500 people, is close to the site of last month’s pitched battles between police and protesters in Nandigram and Singur, which left 14 protesters dead.
Poor farmers in Singur are opposing the theft of their land to build a car factory for the multinational firm, Tata.
The state government is using police repression against those who are fighting major corporations in an effort to present West Bengal as a “business-friendly” environment.
State government chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee describes the strike at Hindustan Motors as the work of “hooligans” and “agitators”.
Nevertheless the car workers’ struggle is having a knock on effect on other car plants in India.
On Wednesday of last week Hindustan Motor’s management decided to temporarily close the plant because of the strike, causing a crisis for other manufacturers who rely on Hindustan Motors for parts.
The striking workers at Hindustan Motors are determined to stay out until all their demands are met and have issued an appeal for financial support.
Send messages of support to Sangrami Shramik Karmachari Union, 51 Shibtala Street, PO Bhadrakali, District: Hooghly, West Bengal, India 712232. For more information: www.autoworkers-ssku.org