Resolute struggle of workers and public pressure ensure a partial victory for labour movement in Gorakhpur
All 18 dismissed workers from Ankur Udyog taken back, factory will start from tomorrow
Agitation will continue to demand arrest of main accused of the firing, compensation to injured workers from government, revoke false cases and order a judicial inquiry
Second phase of 'Workers Satyagraha' will be launched if demands are not met
New Delhi, 10 May – The resolute struggle of workers of Gorakhpur in the face of brutal repression by the police and administration and widespread condemnation and public pressure forced the administration and the factory owners on the back foot and ensured a partial victory for the workers agitation in Gorakhpur. The workers were agitating since May 3 when 19 workers were injured in firing by criminals hired by a factory owner.
The administration came under pressure after severe condemnation from all quarters of lathi charge on workers going for peaceful 'workers satyagraha' to the commissioner's office, arrests and beatings and misbehaviour with women workers and hundreds of workers starting a hunger strike at the town hall. The officials released all the detained leaders and workers by late evening yesterday and brought the factory owners for talks. The dharna was suspended last night after the owners agreed on some demands and formal talks were decided to be held today. A group of 25 workers had symbolically continued the hunger strike which was to be rejoined by a large number of workers if the talks failed.
The owners agreed to take back all the 18 workers dismissed from Ankur Udyog and start the factory from tomorrow in talks held today in presence of the deputy labour commissioner. However the stalemate continued on the issue of the 18 workers dismissed from two factories of VN Dyers ltd.
The Joint Workers Rights Struggle Front spearheading the agitation has said that the agitation will continue on the demands to arrest the main accused of the firing and action against the officials who helped them, compensation from the government to the workers, revocation of all false cases on workers and a judicial inquiry into the incidents of firing as well as the brutal repression unleashed on 9 May. A second phase of 'Workers Satyagraha' will be launched if the demands are not met soon.
The brutal repression of the workers yesterday has attracted widespread condemnation from national and international forums and individuals. Eminent jurists, intellectuals, social activists and people associated with working class movements from all over the country expressed their anger to Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati through hundreds of faxes, emails, phone calls and memorandums and have demanded that the cycle of repression be stooped immediately, judicial probe be ordered into the incident, the demands of the workers be fulfilled and quick action be taken against the culprits. PUCL and PUDR have announced to send their enquiry teams to Gorakhpur and some independent investigative teams comprising senior journalists and social activists shall soon leave for Gorakhpur to gather facts.
This small victory against the oppression of the nexus of factory-owners-administration-communal forces has become possible due to huge public outrage and public pressure but the workers of Gorakhpur have still a long battle to fight and they need the support of all justice loving people and social activists. The workers have obtained some relief from repression but their basic demands have still not been fulfilled. No factory in the region implements any of the labour laws. The workers are deprived even of basic facilities like minimum wage, ESI, PF, Job card and are forced into long hours of overtime. The labour department keeps its eyes shut against such oppression and lawlessness. Unless these basic demands of the workers are addressed their resentment will keep coming to the surface in form of such movements from time to time.
Joint Workers' Rights Struggle Front has warned that if the factory owners try to renege on their words and fail to give the workers their constitutional rights as before or if they try to victimise worker's leaders then they should be ready to face the consequences.
The front expressed gratitude to the jurists, journalists, intellectuals and social activists for their timely help and has appealed to all to support the workers of Gorakhpur in their struggle for justice.
Citizen's Front in Support of Gorakhpur Worker's Movement
Contacts: 9936650658 (Katyayani), 9910462009 (Satyam), 8447011935 (Sandeep)
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com