By Sudhir Katiyar It was an important day as it becomes clear how far the strike call has taken root. From early morning, the cell phones of the Union team started ringing. The workers complain that while they have stopped working, others on their kiln …

Andrew

By Sudhir Katiyar


It was an important day as it becomes clear how far the strike call has taken root. From early morning, the cell phones of the Union team started ringing. The workers complain that while they have stopped working, others on their kiln are continuing to work.

 

 

The workers gathered in large numbers at Haripura chauraha. The experience so far was shared by all while the Union team presented an update. The worker who had got beaten up by the owner the day before also came to the meeting and narrated his story. It was decided that one team will go to the police station to file a report while the rest of the team will take out a procession to different surrounding brick kilns. Accordingly almost 300 workers set out on a procession. The procession went to six brick kilns. Typically the group would stand on the gate of the kiln and exhort all the workers inside to come out and join the procession. There was so much enthusiasm that some workers wanted to rush in and disturb the mud used to mould bricks. However as a matter of strategy, it was decided not to go in.

By evening it became clear that the strike is picking up strength. Some workers who had not stopped working so far also stopped work. More and more brick carriers (bharai and nikasi called redhiwala in local parlance) joined the strike. This is the group that feeds in sun dried bricks to the chimney chamber for firing and removes the finished bricks. The workers come from Masuda area and are mostly Rawats. If redhiwalas stop work, then the chimney cannot be fired. So the owners mostly promise extra payment to this group and reach a settlement with this group. As a tactics, the Union asked the pathera workers who mould bricks not to let the redhiwalas carry their bricks as the sun dried bricks are their property. This tactics bore fruit. At a number of brick kilns, it was reported that the patheras have stopped the rediwalas from carrying their bricks. The two main groups amongst the patheras are from UP (Chitrakoot) and Bihar (Banka) respectively. The UP group is highly radicalized. It is also getting much higher wages.

At the end of the procession a meeting was held. A core group of 30 people came back with the Union team to the office. It has been decided to constantly keep a team of 30 people ready for any emergency. It is also a means of developing cadre. A two hour training session was held with this team.

The owners are holding a big meeting tomorrow. The Labor Department has also called for a tripartite meeting between the owners and the Union on Monday.


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