Raja Biscuit Company Workers Protest retrenchment and halting of production

raja biscuit workers

On 17th November in Sidkul in Haridwar of Uttarakhand , Raja Biscuit company workers converged at a park to organise a public meeting protesting the halting of production. The workers discussed the topic of the management disabling the machines of the factory. In past months the plight of the Biscuit company workers has been reduced to turmoil. In India it has been a routine features for employers to shut down factories and sell machines, endangering the lives of the workers. It is manifestation of the nefarious strategy of the rulers to mortgage the country to the Corporates .

A strategy was chalked out to confront attacks by management and black laws .Production has been terminated for 8 months. Retrenched workers persistently battled the management to re -start production by February and for contemplating dismantling of the machinery by the workers.

Workers are ever determined that the factory is restarted and production is undertaken to its full potential ensuring it’s welfare but the management is leaving no stone unturned in suppressing them. The Workers pledged that they would fight to the very last tooth if the management did away with the machines, even sacrificing their own lives.

For a prolonged period of 15 years the workers of Raja Biscuit have been promoting the welfare of the company. From February the company management halted the production. Due to lay –offs workers are receiving only half of their wages and frequently have to resort to struggles. The workers are virtually placed in a life or death situation. They are unable to pay the fees of their children, and many have had to cut their children’s name from the roll. Being unable to pay House landlords and ration owners has put the workers families in turmoil. In the meeting workers of Raja Biscuit company, Food workers Union and ITC were participants.

In coming months the Biscuit factory workers face a mounting challenge in devising forms of struggle which will stretch the management to the limit to relent, and concede to their demands. They could also embark on taking control of production themselves, like the Kanoria Jute Mill workers in Bengal, decades ago. Globalisation has fermented many situations. Struggles may have to be manufactured even at the basti level. Positive to witness the unity of democratic working class forces. We should interpret the protest in the background of how globalisation has turned corporates into virtual dictators, broken the backbone of all welfare policies for workers and crystallised economic crisis at an unprecedented level. Their struggle is part and parcel of the resistance against the anti-working class policies accentuated by the current BJP Govt.as a whole.

Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist who has covered mass movements around India

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