Workers at tire factory in India go on strike

The state is being passive at the critical moment

Production at the tire factory in Chennai (Tamil Nadu, India) has been discontinued since May 28, a union enterprise representative said. The cause of the strike was the diagnosing one of the union members with Covid-19 and the passive position of the plant management. The company is owned by one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world — Madras Rubber Factory (MRF).

An MRF plant in India
An MRF plant in India

The union confirms that the management of the plant ignored the requirements for the operation of enterprises during quarantine:

“At the beginning, the company management took adequate measures: in early May, only 25% of employees worked in 2 shifts. But later, the company decided to increase the number of employees involved in the work to 33%, and in the last few days the load increased to three shifts. After one of the workers confirmed Covid-19, the issue of stopping the production process became vital,” — the union representatives reported.

Before the strike, the union had already turned to the plant management and the Ministry of Labour, but at the time of the strike the state did not react to the violations of working conditions. Therefore, the workers had no choice but to stop the work of the enterprise until their requirements were met.

The striking workers demand stopping the production lines and disinfection of the enterprise workshops, regular tests for all employees to detect the virus, and also cancellation of the company’s recent order to call on all 100% of the employees to continue working in regular conditions, as if there was no outbreak danger.

The company’s policy is understandable — with each day of downtime, management loses profit — because their profit is precisely the unpaid labor of wage workers. The neglect by government officials of obvious quarantine violations by large capital is a good illustration of whose interests the capitalist state protects. Now, in the crisis, the common, international interests of the working class in all countries are becoming increasingly apparent. And the actions of the capitalists and the authorities each time only increase the discontent of the workers, and create the prerequisites for revolutionary changes in society.