[OPE-L] Workers News from the Special Exploitation Zone (GurgaonWorkersNews)

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Dec 05 2007 - 17:42:57 EST

Heard about this site from the aut-op-sy list.  To get a sense of
where they are coming from in terms of theory and politics,  see:
In solidarity, Jerry
> > Subject: GurgaonWorkersNews no.8 out now...>
> ´╗┐Gurgaon Workers News - Newsletter 8 (December 2007)> (full version on: http://www.gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com)> > Gurgaon in Haryana is presented as the shining India, a symbol of> capitalist success promising a better life for everyone behind the> gateway of development. At first glance the office towers and shopping> malls reflect this chimera and even the facades of the garment factories> look like three star hotels. Behind the facade, behind the factory walls> and in the side streets of the industrial areas thousands of workers> keep the rat-race going, producing cars and scooters for the> middle-classes which end up in the traffic jam on the new highway> between Delhi and Gurgaon. Thousands of young middle class people lose> time, energy and academic aspirations on night-shifts in call centres,> selling loan schemes to working-class people in the US or pre-paid> electricity schemes to the poor in the UK. Next door, thousands of> rural-migrant workers uprooted by the agrarian crisis stitch and sew for> export, competing with their angry brothers and sisters in Bangladesh or> Vietnam. And the rat-race will not stop; at the outskirts of Gurgaon> India's biggest Special Economic Zone is in the making. The following> newsletter documents some of the developments in and around this> miserable boom region. If you want to get to know more about working and> struggling in Gurgaon, if you want more info about or even to contribute> to this project, please do so via:> > www.gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com> gurgaon_workers_news@yahoo.co.uk> > In the December issue you can find:> > 1) Proletarian Experiences -> Daily life stories and reports from a workers' perspective> > >>>"Reports from workers exploited in the net of automobile suppliers",> Automobile Industry Part Eight -> Some short reports from workers employed at Omax, Lumax, Breaks India> and Anu Industries, all suppliers for the local automobile industry in> Gurgaon. The reports are results of short chats - with workers we met> more or less randomly at various tea stalls in the industrial areas -> and a short internet research session. They provide some information> about the extended factories of Hero Honda (see newsletter no.4), Honda> HMSI (see newsletter no.7) and Maruti Suzuki (see this issue, newsletter> no.8).> > >>>"Three brothers" -> Short discription of the long wage and house working days of three> brothers who share a room in Gurgaon.> > >>>"Made paranoid, kicked out, and crashed..." -> We document three short articles on occupational risks of call centre> workers. The first article relates to the increasing 'safety paranoia'> in Gurgaon. IBM management in Gurgaon sent out an email to its 2,000> employees, which fosters the social psychosis, while middle-class DLF> (private developer) residents make propaganda against migrant workers.> The second article questions the common picture (and self-portrayal) of> the 'distinct BPO employees' who do not share the same basic risks of> being hired and fired like any other worker. The fact that the call> centre workers prompted the sacking by 'slogan-shouting outside the> office' shows that in this unknown situation they reacted like they> think workers would normally react. The third article demonstrates that> the attempt of the BPO companies to save money on transport not only> extends the working-hours of the employees (longer tours and waiting> inside the cabs), but also causes speeding and fatal accidents.> > 2) Collective Action -> Reports on proletarian struggles in the area> > >>>"Successful wildcat strike of temp workers at Delphi in Gurgaon" -> Short note on the incident. Many of the workers hired through> contractors who went on wildcat strike in January 2007 have since left> Delphi. In August 2007 the temp workers - not represented by any union -> laid down tools again for few hours. The management first reacted by> threatening a lock-out and closure of the plant, then decided to give> the workers a significant pay rise.> > >>>"Welcome to the Machine" - Summary on re-structuring at Maruti> Suzuki, Gurgaon, Automobile Industry Part Nine> The supply chains of Maruti are the main arteries of the local industry,> they reach down into the backyards of the slums (see newsletter no.3),> controlling their labour intensive work by connecting it with work-shop> production, semi-automatized small factories, capital intensive 'first> tier' factories and the main assembly lines of its plants. Being> surrounded by and dependent on a vast network of factories which exhaust> a low paid, mobile labour force, peace in the industrial centre is a top> priority. Maruti Suzuki more or less managed to suppress unrest in the> industrial core, the assembly plants. It managed to do this on one hand> by paying comparably high wages to the permanent work-force, by> implementing a paternalistic management policy, by using the union and> local political class as a mediator or show-fighter and last but not> least by unleashing severe repression against workers after the lock-out> in 2000. The following overview has the same limitations as many other> (lefty) studies on Maruti: a lack of real reflection of the current> situation for the young work-force hired through contractors, working in> the assembly departments, paint shops and machine halls. Since 2000> Maruti Suzuki sucked in a low paid work-force, e.g. assembling the new> 'sales hit' SX4, a compact car priced at 690,000 Rupees, while paying> the workers 4,500 Rupees per month. Under the pressure of the market> Maruti Suzuki decided to let these workers be employed right in the> centre of the web, where they now form the majority. A real inquiry> would have to be undertaken together with these workers hired through> contractors and those of the suppliers, in order to discover the> fragility and fractures within the moloch. > > 3) According to Plan -> General information on the development of the region or on certain> company policies> > >>>"Not yet special enough: Special Economic Zones, Part Five" -> - Your backyard a SEZ? Short note on the inflation of SEZs in Gurgaon> > 4) About the Project -> Updates on Gurgaon Workers News> > >>>Gurgaon Videos -> New Page on the web-site featuring shakey impressions from Gurgaon,> amongst others some footage on the police brutality against the Honda> workers in July 2005.> > >>>Glossary -> Updated version of the Glossary: things that you always wanted to know,> but could never be bothered to google. Now even in alphabetical order.

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