Socialist Worker

Indian car workers say, "Back down or we’ll blow up the plant!"

by Yuri Prasad
Issue No. 1984

Organised labour in India have shown that they have the power to resist multinational capital. A militant strike by workers at the Toyota-Kirloskar Motors factory in Bangalore, southern India has bosses on the back foot.

On 6 January management attempted to sack three leading union activists and suspend ten others. In response, 1,400 workers — all under the age of 28 — occupied the critical Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) section of the plant.

Within hours Toyota bosses organised for police to encircle the plant ready to break the occupation by baton charging the strikers. The strikers countered by rigging the LPG to explode and threatening to destroy both themselves and the plant unless the police were withdrawn.

Union officials organised an end to the occupation two days later as management decided to declare a lock-out and shut the whole plant, with the intention of restarting production using non-unionised workers.

India’s labour law requires that industrial disputes go to arbitration. Meanwhile protests by workers continue.

The Indian bosses’ paper Business Standard reports that manufacturing bosses are increasingly fearful that the strike at Toyota is part of a general revival of confidence of India’s unionised workers, citing recent successful strike action at Honda, Tata Motors and Apollo Tyres.

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Sat 21 Jan 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1984
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