Tag Archives: union

Trapped in concrete woes [Bhagwati Sahu]

It’s been nine months since Panchayat member and union leader Bhagwati Sahu was imprisoned in Ravaan, Chhattisgarh, for allegedly assaulting two employees of the Ambuja-Holcim cement factory and making off with Rs.3500 and a Nokia 2700 Classic cell phone. […]

In court submissions, the police say that Mr. Sahu is a man of criminal antecedents, pointing to the 18 cases registered against him. Mr. Sahu has been twice denied bail in light of these cases. Mr. Sahu’s lawyers say he has been framed and victimized for standing up to Ambuja Cement, a subsidiary of Holcim, a cement manufacturer with production sites in about 70 countries.

Union members have noted that in India, an overburdened judicial system means that the process is often the punishment for those awaiting trial. 2010 data provided by prison authorities indicate that approximately 60 per cent of Chhattisgarh’s inmates are prisoners under trial, and may ultimately be found innocent. Ambuja-Holcim has denied these allegations. “There is no malice or victimizing …as alleged. Nor is his case anyway connected with his position in any union. [sic]” said a spokesperson for Ambuja-Holcim in an email, adding that a local court had forbidden Mr. Sahu and his associates from holding meetings within 500 metres of the plant premises. […]

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[Frontline Defenders] India: Human rights defender and trade union leader Mr Murali Mohan beaten to death by police

On 27 January 2012, human rights defender and trade union leader Mr Murali Mohan was beaten to death by police officers outside the Regency Ceramics Limited factory in Yanam, Andhra Pradesh State.

Murali Mohan founded the factory’s trade union and fought peacefully for workers’ rights and for better wages and staff regularisation.

[…]

Murali Mohan and four others had been suspended from their posts on 2 January 2012 for their involvement in the trade union. Since their dismissal the agitation of the workers grew stronger and more workers had taken to the streets in protest.

Regency Ceramics Limited is the biggest company in Yanam and employs 1,200 workers. Recently, the trade union led by Murali Mohan had been demanding the regularisation of – at a minimum – staff who had been employed by the company for the past 15 years. The management of the company had reportedly harassed some of the workers following the foundation of the trade union on 25 January 2010. The management applied to court challenging the legality of the union and the registration of the union was subsequently cancelled. However, the workers called on Murali Mohan to lead them in their protest for the promotion and protection of their rights.

Front Line Defenders believes that the deadly attack on Murali Mohan is directly related to his work in defence of human rights and in particular the workers’ rights at the Regency Ceramics Limited factory in Yanam. Front Line Defenders is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of other human rights defenders involved in the aforementioned company’s trade union.

Read the full article here.

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